Saturday, September 6, 2014

Gear review

We had a super hiking trip recently in the badlands. As we were preparing to go, we had to think a bit about our gear situation. We have generally kept a reasonably well supplied gear closet, but we haven't done this much since Noah. And, now we have to carry equipment for him as well as our own gear. Space and weight are a much bigger concern! Brian did a little shopping spree and was pretty excited about his bedding before and after:
I got a summer weight camping sleeping bag 10 years ago, but he kept his mid-weight one around and sweated it out when we've gone in summer. It was finally time for him to have an appropriate bag for the forecasted overnight temps. It worked very well, he was pleased with the result!

The following are the 5 sleeping mats that we were considering bringing (4 went). We learned about these super minimalist sleeping mats that pack to the size of a pop can, sweet. Well, sweet if you ar 5'10"-6' tall, male proportions, and sleep on your back. After trying the minimalist route for one night, I lugged the second largest mat shown into the wilderness with me (gotta love traveling by van, aka gear shed on wheels!)
Noah is a super hiker and we will definitely do more of this, so it's time to continue refining our gear so we can manage the load and sleep well too!

I should go download the pictures from the trip, so I can show you "Ram skull mountain" and other highlights!

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Busy with school prep

We were perusing the fabric store for something specific awhile back and found a variety of fun colorful nylon fabrics that got my wheels turning...  Noah will be heading into the big world of kindergarten this fall and I prefer that he carry something distinctive and NOT themed with licensed images.  Even with the fabric being a clearance find, the cost of zippers and fabric and strap make this likely to cost more than the products I might have found at the store. Then you add how many hours building it up, and it's hardly worth it, except that he likes it :)

Here's the finished product!

Built from:
I drew up my own pattern based upon backpacks we have.
And got this stash of products:

I included organizer elements in the front "pencil pocket".

The bottle pockets fit perfectly!

There are a couple things that didn't go as planned, but I think it will work just fine anyway...

Did you notice the light padding to make it comfortable on his back?

I'm pretty pleased with how it turned out, and I think I will be able to find him in the crowd with his yellow with blue and orange trim backpack.

Now, we just have to get to the store to fill it with the long list the of supplies that the school requires...

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Another tile job and the kitchen is finished!

So we had this one last ugly peach wall taunting us...
Not anymore!
Brian found a sweet tile that we could use for the back splash - at Menard's, where else.  It's shiny, white glass that has just a little bit of a blue tint to it.
 As usual with tile, I'm the cutter and Brian's the mudder.  I set up out on the deck - since it's summer now and I won't freeze my fingers off, and the rest of the place is in sweet condition - don't want to wreck it with tile dust.  For this job, I should have asked Dad for his glass tools, because my tile saw was ridiculous overkill and not the best tool for the job.  It turned out great, though.
 It was an appliance jungle in the kitchen since we needed to move things in order to tile around/behind them.
 It's still a little messy, but we're peach-free!
 Things lined up just right around the mid-counter outlet.
 Under the microwave, we got really lucky with the height of the tile and height of the microwave :)
 Oh, I almost forgot!?!  The counters came in, that's why we were ready to tile!  We got a quartz product, ECO Polarcap - it's a mostly white, with little flecks of gray and sparkle.
 Nearly done, he's taping up for a line of caulk.
 Now, they can get the sink plumbed up and our kitchen will be back in business!!
There we have it, the kitchen is in.  This marks the end of the Superior condo journey.  It was pretty anti-climactic ending with a few, little plumbing tasks.  Nothing like unwrapping from a paint job.
What do you think of our sweet little back splash?  I'll put some furniture/finished product pictures up soon.  Next stage, sit on the market...  Anyone interested?!

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Easiest floor I've worked with

We had a lovely weekend with some hikes and friends visiting, and managed to throw down our wood floor.  I've never worked with an easier flooring install (unless you count calling in a contractor for carpet!).  For once, I got to do the "fun" part and Brian was the cutter.
It started a little slow because we had to get our bearings.  

Here's the product we were using.  It's from Menard's, the wood is Acacia.  It's an engineered wood product, so the cost was reasonable, but the look was there.  It's all about getting the look for this place.
The pieces that didn't get cut literally took 5 seconds to put in.  I spent a lot of time during the install waiting for Brian to cut and playing with Noah.  He even put a few pieces in - it was that easy!
There were a number of challenging cuts to fit around the hearth and into the angles of the dining area and kitchen.
Prove out the new floor with a few dance moves while dad's cutting!
Mmm, looking good!
We need to go back at the end to deal with the transition space at the hearth, but the main floor just goes down so fast!
Here's another of those challenging cuts that I got out of, just had to ask my cutter for them and test when the pieces came back.  He sometimes caught up to me when I had to roll out more underlayment and I was playing between cuts instead of working ahead. :)
Here are the final pieces except under the fridge.  We got it tucked in tight at the little wall that separates the hall from the kitchen.  Ended with the right width piece too... Gotta love when a whole piece slides in at the end.
Another kitchen sneak peek.  Our appliances came in, so we had to move them out of the way for floor.  Good thing the floor went fast, we didn't have to have them out of place for very long!
Whew, it's looking sharp!
After the floors, of course, there were counter toe-kicks to install.  Really finished the place off nicely!
Carpet transition anyone?
So, there's our rich mocha floor to ground all the light and white fixtures.  It was super easy to install, down-right fun to work with, and was able to be done in pieces between hiking outings.  I think we worked on the floor in 3 - 2 hour sessions plus Brian spent another couple hours on the transitions.  If you had a regular rectangular room, it would go together so easily.  We had minimal waste until we got into cutting angles, but overall had little enough waste that we got to return one box; we were really close to returning 2, but needed 2 more boards at the very end.
I'm really happy with the product.  It makes the space look so much more finished!  Probably because it is nearly finished, whatever.  Furniture and some kitchen details left to go!

Monday, June 30, 2014

Slow progress and style choices at the condo

We're quickly approaching the end of this project.  We've run into a number of delays for product selection or contractor scheduling.  In the meantime, we worked on things that are not very photo worthy or noticeable.
We had a few issues getting the plate cover onto the outlet with the relief of the bricks around it.  A little angle-grinder action solved that...

Counter selections and wood flooring were a style challenge.  I set up a couple of groupings at home to look at things together.  Here's one such model:
 That's the counter choice, but not the exact floor choice.  It's pretty close on the floor.  It really helps to set up a little vignette like this, especially when your project is as far away from home as ours!

We had to visit for some measures and supply/tool delivery, so Brian knocked out some punch-list like items.  Closet hooks!

Shower curtain hung!

We've also enjoyed a few relaxing visits with more hiking and reading books than usual :)

Friday, May 9, 2014

First glimpse of the kitchen

Are you ready for a ton of pictures of a tiny kitchen?
Brian had a fun experience installing the IKEA kitchen.  It only took 3 trips (so far) to IKEA to get it done.  He worked on the kitchen by himself and found it completely do-able to hang the cabinets solo.  It's coming together!  I'll let the pictures speak for themselves...
messy workspace, first few upper cabinets mounted

first few upper cabinets mounted

upper cabinets are in with doors

you get a before, during, and after all at once with these pictures!

clean up and add lights - looking good!

blur your eyes so you see a stainless micro and smooth top range

just wait, the base is even better

ah, the working conditions
step back and admire

the ugly base is gone!

and the pretty base is going in...


range makes a great tool shelf

umm hmm, starting to be a pretty kitchen

look, we have an island too

ready to tackle the dishwasher?
whoo hoo! the integrated dishwasher was such a good choice

looking good!
It's coming together nicely!  I'm looking forward to the new appliances, mostly because those are coming next.  The dishwasher took quite a few hours to get mounted and set into place, that was not fast.  The rest of the kitchen went together reasonably quickly and without frustration.  Those IKEA people really know how to set you up for success in your assembly.  We're down to the level of cleaning up details in here - installing shelves, a few trim pieces, and soft close hardware.  Then it's just a waiting game until the counter guys can get there...