Sunday, September 30, 2012

Storage, storage, storage

Our kitchen is storage heaven and I can't wait to get organized, everything in it's place.

And yet, with all that space, there still are a few possible storage problems that I have been thinking about.

1) How to make the corners accessible in the upper and lower cabinets

(excuse the mess)
2) Since the shelves have a fixed height all the way around, I would have some lost space on some shelves and others would be too short. 

(This cabinet was not original to the kitchen)

I knew I couldn't get around the too short part - but maybe the lost space could be salvaged. 

3) How am I going to get to the way back of the deeper, lower cabs? Without spending a ton of money on those metal pull outs that were made for modern, one size fits all, kitchens cabinets?

This is just where I put things for now.
For the uppers, the corner solution is easy. Just make a batch of lazy Susan's and put them in the corner.
Photo source

But what to do with the rest? 

Well then I saw this post from "With A Blast" at the "I should be mopping the floor" link party

Great solution for the lowers! I can custom size these to fit the space I have and not worry about what is available to buy!

Thank you so much for the idea Linda!

Now all I need to do is figure out what to do with the deep lower dead corners. Suggestions? Anyone?

Aloha A Hui Hou!

Friday, September 28, 2012

Things I did not know about granite

I was so excited that we opted for granite countertops

I was so happy on this day! Amazed how everything was coming together.
and I wanted to be sure I knew what to do and how to care for it.

I was told that all I had to do was seal it once a year.

...and I thought great, low maintenance (yes!!!) and was good with that.

So imagine my surprise this Sunday when I came upon an article about the care of granite counter tops.

What I did NOT know was that I can't use all purpose, ammonia or bleach cleaners. 

The article says that cleaning products that contain vinegar, lemon or other acidic ingredients can dull the surface, reducing the stones luster and eating away at the sealer. Ammonia based cleaners should also be avoided as they can cause the stone's surface to wear off over time. 

That means I have to read the labels of my cleaners and make sure they don't contain any of the above (i.e. lemon dish washing liquid).

Also, do not try to scrub off something that has dried on your counter top. That green side of your sponge can also damage the surface of your granite counter top. 

Who would have thought that a something like a green sponge could scratch something as hard as granite....well when you think about it, maybe.....but would I think about it? or would I have just tried to get what ever was there off?

What is your granite care tip or wisdom? 

I'm dying to know!

Aloha A Hui Hou!

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Review - Roomba Customer Service

I would give them 5 out of 5 s

You may ask, you've hardly used it. Why would you be calling their customer service department? Well, here's the scoop.

You might remember this post, where I mention the annoying error #9 message my lady Roomba was shouting out at me.

Well our house guest said that she's still at it....and it's still annoying.

So I gave the iRobot Customer Service line a call. Sadly they were really busy and couldn't take my call, so I emailed them the issue and this morning I received this email:

"Dear Heidi,

Thank you for contacting iRobot Customer Support.

We apologize that we have to resolve this issue over the phone. We hope you understand that to solve this matter, we require further information. 

Please reply with your phone number and a best time to call you, so this issue can be rectified at your convenience. Alternatively, you may contact us at (877) 855-8593, Mon-Fri 9am-7pm, EST and Sat, 9am-6pm.

In the event that you decide to contact us or schedule a call back, please keep your unit nearby as the possibility exists that it may require troubleshooting.

We appreciate your cooperation and look forward to speaking with you. 
Thank you, 
Antonia Dowe 
iRobot Customer Care"

Checked my watch, figured out the time difference and made the call.

Navigated my way thru the automated answering system and was connected to a customer service representative.

I again explained my issue with error number 9 and that my lady roomba might need to go to a time out if she doesn't get a grip.

I also explained that I am no where near my Roomba and won't be for a while. That I am worried about my warranty. What will happen if I finally get there and it turns out I have a bad unit?

And you know what he said? he said that they understand and since I called and reported it now, it will sort of freeze my warranty and it will still be covered when ever I make it back to the house.

Can you say SHOCKER?

Now that, my dear friends, is customer service.

Aloha A Hui Hou!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Back in 1979

After I graduated from grade school I went to visit my grandmother in Germany. While I was there I spent some time at my uncles Bed and Breakfast. It was in a small little town called Ludwigswinkel.

Now Ludwigswinkel was far away from everything and was known for the clean and healthy air. There was a clinic, for people with lung ailments right there on the lake.

One of the patients staying there would come to the B&B for cake and coffee with her daughter. We were the same age and got along splendidly.

The day came that she went back home and I went back to the US and we remained pen pals for years.

When my family moved to Germany she came to visit and it was the same. She was a friend for life.

Over the years we visited each other, called and kept writing.

Just before I moved to Hawaii she had a bit of a melt down, divorced her hubby and I lost track of her. Letters came back, parents changed their number. Not a trace.

I remember her last words...Don't leave Germany with out letting me know....but I just couldn't find her.

Every year on her birthday I send out a prayer and a birthday wish, hoping that she was happy and well.

I didn't give up looking...I googled her name didn't find anything. I joined forums from her home town and asked around, if anyone knew her or her responses.

As I was packing up "stuff" on Friday I came across my old address book and I had her parents old address in there and I thought what the the address.

To my great surprise her family name popped up...with a phone number.  I was a bit nervous....but this was the best luck I had in years.

I gave it a shot and a man picked up the phone..I asked for my friend, told him who I was....and he remembered, he was her brother! He took down my phone # and promised to forward it to my friend.

This morning she gave me a quick call (from her cell=very expensive), updated me that she has become a mother and remarried her ex husband (I really liked him and am soo happy they are back together).....She said that they don't have a computer and don't go online, but she will write me a nice long letter. Like so long ago....

We've been friends for almost 35 years....I'd say she's my oldest friend...and I'm happy to have found her again.

Aloha a Hui Hou

Monday, September 24, 2012

DIY - Pillows to match

You might remember my Rag quilt that I posted here.

Well I finally got the opportunity to sew pillow cases and throw pillows to match.

Two of the three pillow cases and one of the throw pillows.
The throw pillows are all envelope pillows - no zippers. Much easier and much quicker to sew.
I found a shop on line and ordered fringe and cord trim to give the pillows a little somethin' somethin'.
The cord went well with the light colored fabric

The fringe went well with the dark print.

But neither went well with the blue. 

So I thought and I thought and I decided to trim it just like the blanket. I had a narrow strip of fleece left over, so it put that between the two (three) layers of blue. Sewed it with the seam on the right side out and then snipped it all the way around. I really like the way it turned out and it goes perfectly with the blue.

If anyone is interested in the fringe, let me know and I'll dig up the link.

Aloha a Hui Hou!

Sunday, September 23, 2012

It does work!

Well...I am always on the look out for a cool kitchen tip that might save me time...

or money...

or both..and I found one.

You wouldn't believe how fast bananas turn brown here.

We buy them on Saturday, green as can be, and by Monday they are already soft and have big brown spots.

We've tried those Green Bags and although they kept their color longer, something about the banana changes - Don't know how to explain it, but the banana "feels" different and they tasted horrible....really, really horrible.

I hate to think what ever that taste is, is doing to my health...yuck, yuck, yuck!

On Pinterest I stumbled upon a tip to keep banana fresher, longer - They say cover the top (where the banana are joined) with aluminum. No real explanation why, just that it works.

So I give it a try and guess what? It works!

Well at least on the peel doesn't brown and break down as fast. The fruit itself continues to ripen. But was aren't freezing as many bananas these days....and that's a good thing!

Give it a try!

Aloha a Hui Hou!

Saturday, September 22, 2012

DIY - Welcome Table - Take 2

In my last post I left you hanging...waiting for a call back from the lady selling the vanity mirror for $65.-.

Well, I waited and waited and waited and she didn't call back. I was disappointed.

I went back to the post and saw that she only had her shop open on Thursdays, so I gave it another shot and guess what? She picked up the phone!

Now the bad news. She said she didn't get my message and sold the mirror the day before.

But here is some good news, she sold it to another antique shop. She was kind enough to give me the contact information of the shop that bought it and I called there.

They picked up right away and found that they still had it and wanted $100 for it.....Wow! what a profit in just one day! I asked them if that was the best price and they said yes. I thought a moment and decided to ask them to hold it for me and let them know a friend of mine would stop by to take a look at it.

Since my friend was in the neighborhood she was there in nothing flat. She called and said the mirror had a bit of hazing, but the frame looked really good. It was up me, if it was worth $100.

We talked back and forth a bit, and then I talked to the lady and was able to get the price down to $79...which was ok.

So now this beauty is resting in our shop and waiting from me to give it a new purpose! Woo hoo!

Aloha A Hui Hou!

Monday, September 17, 2012

Welcome Table

Browsing thru the blogs I follow I found this at Domestic Imperfection

Photo from this blog
and I love it! She made it out of this

Photo from this blog
Since I saw it, in my minds eye I've been seeing it on our front porch, the table top a bit wider so I could put a vase on it, some seasonal decorations.....

This morning I was cruising Craigslist and found this:

Tell me, what are the chances of finding THAT close of a match?


I know, right?

I called and left a message. So hope they get back to me and still have it.

Keep  your fingers crossed for me!

Aloha A Hui Hou!

Sunday, September 16, 2012

To Paint the Porch Ceiling Blue

The couple of times we have been at the house we have had LOTS and LOTS of wasps trying to nest in the corners of the ceiling of the front porch and the back Lanai.

Last year when the contractor went up to fix the roof he was attacked by wasps.

I'm sure part of it is because there was no one there - to them it was a nice, quiet place to call home.

But it isn't anymore.

In many HGTV episodes people have mentioned that if you paint the ceiling of your porch blue, bugs think that it is the sky, where birds could easily catch them and they fly for cover...or something like that.

photo from this site

I was kind of torn between wanting to believe it and thinking that bugs would never fly out in the open if they were afraid of the sky.

So I did a little bit of research and this is what I found out.

Way back, some people believed that if you painted the porch ceiling a soft blue-green color it would keep Haints, restless spirits, away. The color was actually called Haint Blue.

Then there was an article that mentions that back in the day, when they first started painting porch ceilings blue, people used milk paints and in most cases lye was mixed into the paint.

That explains a lot. Lye is known as an insect repellent and THAT's why bugs would avoid spending time and building nests on the porch ceiling, lamps or ledges. You also have to know that milk paint fades over time...and it gets painted over with more milk paint = more lye. It was like a new treatment with every coat of paint.

So I guess, when we redo the back lanai (it has a poor slope), we'll be painting the ceiling with milk paint (I might have to research if lye may cause a health hazard for humans - I'll keep  you posted).

....and now you know the rest of the story!

Aloha a Hui Hou!

Friday, September 14, 2012

Back in 1999....

When I traveled to Hawaii for the first time, I rented a Sebring Convertible.

And I fell in love....

But I knew it would be a love that couldn't be...because they didn't sell Chrysler Sebrings in Germany.  

At that point in time I never....ever....thought I would end up in Hawaii.

But Life happened and I wound up in Hawaii and after a few years my car dream came true and I bought my first Sebring

and I named her Gracie. She was cheap and wasn't perfect. She had some many flaws. The hood wouldn't close all the way, not all the windows worked, the top had to be closed by hand.....and, and, and but she was a Sebring and sitting in that driver seat, I felt at home. We had wonderful, topless times together. 

Then, a little more than a year later, October was coming around and the time for her to get the annual safety check getting close. One thing was sure, she wasn't going to pass and the money needed to fix her - the math just didn't add up - so I had to let her go...and missed her every day.

Since we had a 2nd car and we didn't really NEED to have two cars, we opted to be frugal and not to get a replacement.

Fast forward to January 2011 - I was unhappy, always stuck in the apartments, bored out of my gourd and  it was time to get another car. I was lucky and oh so blessed that I was able to get another dream car - A newer model, much better condition

Enter stage left, Dolores, Dolly for short...

Actually won a photo contest with this picture and it landed in a Sebring Convertible Calendar
Daily morning drives to the beach, cruising the Island with the top down - I was me again! Loving Island life, still in love with a Sebring.

Last November hubby had his right of way taken and the accident totaled our other car. Here is the post about that mess.

Hawaii is a no fault state - no fun.

My tip for you, if you are ever here, never, ever have an accident in Hawaii.

Anyway, this time the decision was different. We had other things to take into consideration. We bought the ranch, we might be moving...maybe...having two cars, it was complicated. I didn't want to load a 2nd car if we were going to move...and who knows when that could happen? Sooner? later?.  So No 2nd car for us.

Dolly was our one and only and this time I took it in stride. If I needed a car, I'd drive Hubby to work and pick him up again. On the weekends I got to go for my beach walks and be the driver when we went shopping and such. It was a part time love affair.

Last week I had a friend visiting the Island and I drove Roger to work so I could have the car. We had a great time driving around the Island. Visiting some beautiful places - enjoying topless views. 

This week Wednesday hubby arrived home from work, much later than usual. He said that Dolly over heated and he had to stop several times on the way home. Said she kept dying on him.

So he called in and stayed home from work yesterday to take the car to the shop. They called and said that as far as they can tell there is a part that is broken. It might solve the problem - it might not. they won't be sure until they fix the part they see is broken. I was feeling a bad case of deja vu.

We sunk a lot of money in our Astro van and it wound up dying anyway - losing all the money we put into it.

We weren't about to let that happen again.

So unhappily we went to the dealership and traded Dolly in for a new car. Not a convertible, but for an economical 2011 Hyundai Accent. We don't have a name for her yet.....but that'll come, once we get to know each other better...

Aloha A Hui Hou!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Have you forgotten?

To all that perished, to all that lost loved ones and friends....I still grieve for your loss.

I remember where I was, what I was doing and I know, I will never forget....

Aloha A Hui Hou!

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Revisited - Fridge Door Handle Covers

I mailed the covers I made to the house and they were so kind to put them on the fridge.

I think they look great!

Sorry for the low res, but you get the idea. She also said that the cover fits perfectly on the freezer drawer. So I can just go ahead and use the same measurements for the freezer handle cover. Cool Beans!

So, have you made your cover yet?

Aloha A Hui Hou!

Sunday, September 2, 2012

DIY - Bleached Coral Pillow

 A while back I painted a coral pillow and shared it with you here

I love how the pillow turned out, but it does feel a bit "hard" where the paint is.

So I got thinking about a bleach technique that a friend of mine shared on her pinterest page and that it might be the solution I was looking for.

According to the instructions you would need:

Colored fabric
Stencil (If you are making your own you will need poster board, a pen, cutting board and a cutter)
spray glue
Ruler/yard stick
Black Permanent Marker
Rubber Gloves
Plastic Foil
Paper Towels
Spray bottle filled with a 50/50 mix of water and bleach

The first thing I did was photo copy my pillow and piece together the pages to make the pattern for my stencil.

I laid it on top of the poster board, and pressing firmly I traced the design onto the poster board. Using the cutter and the cutting board below I cut out the coral design.

 I spread out some newspaper, laid out my stencil and sprayed the back side with spray glue.

According to the instructions on the glue can, it has to air dry for about 15 minutes before I can place the stencil on my fabric (this way it remains tacky and I can pull it off a couple of times). I did have to respray the stencil after the 2nd and 4th use.

Which is good, because I had some taping and measuring to do

First I spread plastic foil on the table and since I was working outside I taped it down.

Next I measured the middle of my fabric and the middle of my design. Using a permanent marker I marked the lines where the fabric should be and marked the corners where the stencil needs to be.

Then I added some more cardboard so I wouldn't mess up the rest of my fabric with bleach. I pressed down all edged of my stencil firmly to ensure I get a sharp edge.

On my first try I used a 50/50 mix of bleach and water in my sprayer bottle. I squirted the open area of my stencil and right away dabbed off the extra solution using paper towel so it wouldn't spread too far and so my stencil wouldn't get soaked. When you know you'r done spraying, pull off the stencil.

This is what it looked like after 2 sprayings and about 35-40 minutes

It didn't get as light as I had hoped and it leaked a bit, making the branches look a bit chunky.

Let's try this again.

But this time I used 100% bleach in my spray bottle.

AH! Much better!! It is much crisper and not pink. I repeated this 3 more times.

After it line dried I went ahead and washed everything. Then sewed envelope pillows.

Oh and remember the first pillow? Well I went head and traced the outline of the coral branch with a black marker and it made it look much, much better

No two pillows are the same and it definitely is a playing game, getting it just right. Not spraying too much, not too little, wiping it down right away. So go ahead...PLAY!

Aloha A Hui Hou!

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