Wednesday, February 29, 2012

My fancy bits...

As I was sitting here, thinking how can I cut indents into my driftwood to hold the votive candles, Roger suggested trying a spade bit. Not a bad idea!

On our next trip to Sears we stopped at their tool department and found that the largest spade bit was 1 1/2 inches. That's a little bit narrower than a votive. Then I thought that maybe I could use that as a starting point and from there I'll use a wood file to file away to the size I need. So we bought the spade bit and a rounded wood file.

That didn't work too well. It cut the hole well enough (also learned that I would do good to get a vice or a clamp too), but it was still way too small. I started filing with the wood file, but I wasn't getting anywhere fast. Very disappointing.

My next bright idea was to do a google search and see if there is such a thing as a 2" or more spade bit.. There isn't, but I did find out that there is something called a forester bit. Very similar to spade bits but it has more sharper, edges.

That lead me to take a walk to the hardware store up the street to check their forester bit selection out. When reading about forester bits and checking some driftwood tutorials, I found that it is wise to use a drill press and or a clamp to hold your wood securely when drilling. My jaw dropped when I saw that a 2" forester bit cost over $30. I bit the bullet and bought one....

With that I'm set for 2 sizes, but I would still need something to smooth off the edges or make it just a tad bigger, because you know, not all votives are the same....Then it hit me. A long, long time ago I had something like a Dremel, just not as powerful, that I used to etch glass. With a Dremel I could use a carving/router bit or a sanding bit to get my cut to the size I need it to be - bit by bit. 

So that's what I did - in addition to the two fancy bits, I am also the proud owner of a Dremel and what is the next thing I found out? I need to practice, practice, practice!

Now you may ask what the moral of the story is? - I'm supposed to be purging - but if you are going to buy, buy something that you know you will need, not just for this one project - but for lots of things down the road.

I hope that I will soon be able to share the results of my new hobby and I'll be able to have them up and selling on Etsy soon!

Aloha a Hui Hou!

Tuesday, February 28, 2012


I have developed a passion for driftwood, the texture, the feel, the look, the thought of what it's been thru...what's not to love!

On the mornings that I get to go to the beach I've been picking up a piece here and there, ranging from small to forearm large.  It's been fun!  

The wood is very water logged and full of sand. The first thing I do is spread it out in the sun to dry it out a bit. After it's air dried for a few days I knock off the sand, try and shake it out of the holes. Some times the sand just runs out, like an hour glass. Last step is to steam out the rest of the water and kill off any buggies that might be living in the wood - I leave in in the oven for a few hours at low temps and TA-DA!! The wood is light, dry and bug free!

By now, I'm sure you're asking what is she going to do with that driftwood? Here are a few ideas...

And by now I bet you're thinking - "Where can I get my hands on some driftwood!" yeah...I thought so!

I'll keep collecting and keep you posted about the things I've created for the house, using the drift wood I've collected.

Aloha a Hui Hou!

Monday, February 27, 2012

Still thinking about the giant hole behind the house

This is something way, way in the future, but I think about it often as it is going to be right in our face every time we go out the back door.

Here are a couple of pictures of what I think the deck should look like

The internet is a blessing and a many beautiful much time wasted looking for

Aloha a Hui hou!

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Picking out the Counter Top

The counter top has given me much to think about. In all the kitchens I've owned in the past I have had formica like counter tops and I have been happy with all but one (the one we have now it's really bad).

You see, in Germany, when you move into an apartment or a house, it comes without a kitchen - so you have to buy and new one or modify the kitchen you had at your last place. You'll always, always need a new counter top.

In the first kitchen I purchased I had one that looked like marble and had them add white wood trim to match our white wood cabs.

For my second kitchen I picked formica counter top that looked like butcher block to match my oak wood cabinets and also added the wood trim.

In my last kitchen  I went for cheap, off the rack and that worked out just fine too.

After that I lived in rentals that included kitchens and I had no say - If I don't have to pay, I'll be happy with what I get.

Right now we've narrowed it down to Burnished Glaze - Formica

This swatch looks a bit hazy - it looks much better in real life. 
Siliestone - Santa Fe Brown.

and tropic brown granite

We are still waiting on the bid for the Silestone - but I was shocked that there is "only" a $600 difference between the granite and the Formica...I'll have to sleep on that for a few days....weeks...not gonna lie - it's a toughie...

Now a question for you. What kind of counter top do you have? Do you like it? Is there something about it you don't like? Tell me about it!

Aloha a Hui Hou!

Saturday, February 25, 2012

East and North Facing

The kitchen windows have arrived and David and Lisa installed them today

This is before. As you can see, the window is right up in the rafters of the  back lanai  roof  (Hawaiian word for the day Porch = lanai)
Woo Hoo! no mere looking into the rafters!
Insulated and drywalled.
And now the view from the outside - to the left of the door that takes you into the house.

A good chunk higher from the ground  than before  - so the counter can extend past the window
A good bit shorter from the top so we don't have issues with it when the time comes to drywall the underside of the lanai roof.  
Now for the window over the sink:

Kitchen window from the outside before.
New window - you can see where Roger touched up the paint up on the frame of the window last Summer .

Photoshopped it a lot so you can see more. The frame is white, like the other window.
Looks like they've removed the sink too.

They will finish them up on Monday, by adding the casing inside and replacing the siding out side.

So happy! Can't wait till all windows are in! and cash in on the rebate!

Aloha a Hui Hou!

Friday, February 24, 2012

Back to making progress

This week our contractors got back to work on our place and they have moved on to the front room.

The built in is history:
Kind of sad to see it go, but looking forward to what will be going in that spot. (sorry it is a bit wiggly - cell phone pic)

I asked them to save the wood - never know what I might want to create/build with it in the future.

Just to make it look more balanced, when we tile the wall, we decided to arch the doorway to the kitchen. I remember that I originally wanted to get the door way arched but our first contractor said if we do that we'd be disappointed in the lost character. I don't think it will be lost - it will let the bun baker shine!

See our pretty Kitchen floors?

Looking out from the kitchen - our fridge now has a little cousin :o)

Can't wait to get the next batch of pictures!

Aloha Hui Hou!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

It's like Sharing Baby Pictures

Lisa sent us pictures of our new stove :o)

You can see the dishwasher in the corner.

It's 30" wide and has all 5 burners.

Aloha Hui Hou!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012


Have you ever heard of Aquaponics? Well, it's a mix of hydroponics and raising fish.

It is a closed circuit system where your plants are planted in a float, that floats in a bed of water. The water that is supplied to this bed comes from a tank that contains fish. This water is enriched by the fish droppings - instant fertilizer! The over flow of the water goes back to the fish tank and what ever the plants give off is also good for the fish.

I don't quite recall how I heard about this, but this is one of the first videos I watched on the subject. Very interesting and very much worth watching.

We are seriously thinking of doing something like this when we get to the ranch. Plants in a green house and the fish in a pond with a little water fall so we get to enjoy the calming sound of a water fall.

I've signed up to a newsletter from Hawaiian based Aquaponics farm that offers classes where you can stay there, live with them and learn to farm the Aquaponics way. Here is a link to their web site:

We've also purchased this book, the first book written on this subject:

Clicking the book will take you to the page on Amazon, where this book is sold.

Another thing we have done is taken part in a seminar the University of Hawaii was offering on Aquaponics. Didn't learn too much there, but did have the opportunity to look at a system for real. For a couple'a hundred bucks you could start a small Aquaponics garden.

When you consider what is in the store bought foods we eat, growing your own veggies and raising your own fish is definitely an alternative worth looking into.

Aloha Hui Hou!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Good to know we have friends...

One message to one of my new friends on the mainland and the delivery of our new washer and dryer has been ensured.

Woo Hoo! Thank you so much to our new friends!

Aloha Hui Hou!

Monday, February 20, 2012

Well that never happened before... x2

Taking advantage of the Presidents day weekend appliance sales and after doing some internet research we were finally able to choose a washer and dryer. If you read my previous post  you'll know we were trying to figure out what would be best. Well we (I) decided that front loading machines would be the way to go for us and we narrowed it down to  the, Frigidaire Affinity Electric Steam Laundry Pair:

FWIW - It's totally a coincidence that it is yet another Frigidaire. 

washer capacity is 4.2 - Dryer capacity is 7.0
On Saturday, Roger and I went to Sears to see if they had this set in their line up and if they could price match or if they had something that could compare. 

At first, the sales person was "taking stink" about Frigidaire. I leaned over and whispered to my hubby that one of the things I learned in sales was, smack talking what you don't have to justify the fact that you don't have it.  Surprise, surprise, right after that he fessed up that they didn't sell that brand. We said it was ok and that we'd look around.

After a bit of browsing the sale guy approached us again and asked what store was selling the pair at that price. I showed him the ad and explained that it wasn't for here, the gentleman started looking online, and didn't find the pair in the Sears data base, but he did find that Sears price matched R C Willey's prices and checked their site. 

When he saw the ad and the price all he could say is that it is an excellent deal and that we should go for it! That was a first!

On Sunday morning I tried to call the store to place the order, just to find out they're closed on Sundays. I didn't want them to sell out before I could get our order in (you never know how many they have in stock), so I went ahead and ordered online. 

This is where the second first comes in - When I printed the receipt I noticed the fine print. They will only deliver if the person that purchased the set is there to accept delivery with the CC that was used to pay for the machines and with a valid State ID....uh-oh! That isn't going to work. Wrote them back and hope to hear from them tomorrow.

Oh and I didn't order the pedestals. I know that it would be good for my back, in the long run, to have the openings at a comfortable height - but I found this DIY project to make my own pedestal. Will think about making it the next time we're there.

Oh, and I forgot to mention that the washer qualifies for the energy saver rebate - I like the sound of money finding it's way back into my pocket!

Aloha Hui Hou!

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Saturday Morning

Put together a little clip of my Saturday morning at Lanikai beach. The waves at this beach are so mellow compared to the Kailua and Waimanalo Beaches....I won't lie...I will miss this...the water, the calming sound of the waves. On the positive side we get to enjoy the sunrise AND the sunset from our property. I hope no one buys the land behind us, builds and blocks our view...

ANYway, here's the clip for your enjoyment.

Aloha Hui Hou!

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Boxing it up

As I mentioned before, since we received word that we had put in the winning offer on the house we have started to purge.

I have moved many times in my life and have given up A LOT. I've lost A LOT. This time around I have the time to give everything a lot more thought, about what I want to save and what I am willing to let go. That means that not only have I been selling, I've been packing. We both have so many things that we know we want to take with us to our new home. I'm shipping everything ahead that we can live without on a day to day basis.

To date we have shipped packages of all sizes; big and small packages, light and heavy packages, square and round packages. Over 50 have found their way or are finding their way to our storage on the mainland.

So far nothing has gotten lost and as far as I can tell everything has arrived in one piece. Woo Hoo!

But now things are getting a bit difficult. I've used all our spare cloths, sheets, towels and blankets to pack and I have a few fragile items left to go. I just might have to splurge on packing package material.

Unbeknownst to me Roger splurged on packaging. According to to new laws, that have come to be since 9/11, you can no longer ship liquids via mail. In other words you can't ship wine. Roger has a small collection of wine (oldest is from 1976) that he has had for quite some time and doesn't want to part with it. The only way we can take it with us is if we put it in our check in luggage. Knowing how the TSA handles luggage we have to take the very possible into consideration - that one of the bottles might break. So Roger went looking and found these bottle bags. You pack the bottle in it and if it should break the bag is full of an absorbent material that would catch all the liquid. Cool huh?

I think this is the right one
My next questions would be, at about $10 a pop - are they reusable? I guess we'll find out on our next trip! Wish us luck!

So, do you have any suggestions, tips or tricks when packing packages? Share them please!

Aloha Hui Hou!

Friday, February 17, 2012

Got it!

Once again, waiting paid off. The range that we wanted went on sale, $100 off and came with free delivery, a free griddle and a free LP kit (which makes it possible to use propane gas - which we had installed last summer). Together that's another 100, 120 dollar savings. Woo Hoo!

So, this is our suite of appliances:

So, by not buying it all at once and waiting for sales we managed to save a little more than $1100, that will be put to good use elsewhere in the house.

Happy chef, doing the happy dance here!

Aloha Hui Hou!

Thursday, February 16, 2012


Next week David and Lisa will be starting on the corner where we plan to put the wood burning stove. Part of that area is a wrap around mantel.

Since we're changing so much, I want to bring some of the history of the ranch back into the house and I would like the mantel to be made of wood from the wood barn we have out back. My dream was that it would kind of wind up looking a little like this:

Today they went out back to check the barn and let us know that the planks are about 2x8. We could have a really wide mantel, but it would only be about 2" thick. For us, that was too thin and sticking way to far into the room. We thought 4x4 would look much better, talked a bit about getting reclaimed wood to make the mantel and left it at that for now.

There I was, left with my thoughts and while I was thinking an idea hit me. What if we cut the plank in 2 pieces and stacked them? Not necessarily in the middle, but cut it so one of the pieces is 3 1/2" wide and the other 4 1/2" wide? Then have a small lip on the edge so that what ever we have up there won't slide off.....that could be interesting...don't'cha think?

Once again I sat down with my  beloved photoshop and my wacom and started to draw:

Side view

Front view with lip
Now its time to wait and see what's possible.

Aloha Hui Hou!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

The Light Guides Me

I know. I shouldn't do it, but you just can't help but look and plan what you want your house to look like, or what you want to have in the garden.

So, there I was cruising thru Craigslist looking for a wood trunk like my dad's old army trunk that I had been using as a couch table when I was still living in Germany. One post caught my eye, titled "Junk in the Trunk". What the heck could that be? So I clicked and the seller had 4 pictures, each of a different item and one of them was a sundial.

Loved the aged look of it, and just the fact that it was a sundial - So COOL!

This is the pic that was in the ad

This is latin and means - The light guides me

I called the number in the ad and it was still available. He told me that it was about the size of a dinner plate and that Lumen Me Recit was embossed on the edge. He also said that in the picture it was filled with water. It was then I realized that the sail of the dial, that throws the shadow for the time, was actually a sail boat. It had our name all over it! The price was $40 and he said that he would hold it for us.

I asked Lisa if they were going to be in Boise (where the guy with the sundial was located) and as luck would have it, they were going to be in Boise on Monday and Tuesday.  They were so kind to pick it up for us while they were in town. Thanks so much Lisa & David.

Another thing to look forward to and I can't wait to get my hands on it and find out some more about it.

Aloha Hui Hou!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Happy Valentines Day!

Picture taken at Lanikai Beach. ©HMiller
Hope you have a wonderful Valentines day, shared with the ones you love the most.

Aloha Hui Hou!