Electric Tea Kettle Heaven

Hamilton Beach Electric Tea Kettle
Hamilton Beach Electric Tea Kettle

A couple weekends ago, I was out with my mom and we each bought an electric tea kettle like this.

I used to think this was a superfluous item; you can heat water in the microwave or in a kettle on the stove. But after using one at the B&B in England, I warmed to the idea – the electric kettle is much quicker to make a cup of tea and with so little cleanup. This tea kettle lets you know how much water is in it, and super heats the water in less than a minute. It will shut off automatically after it boils so you don’t leave it on. And I’ve used it more than any other counter-top appliance in our house in the past two weeks. Tea – my new drink of choice.

Continue ReadingElectric Tea Kettle Heaven

Christmas organizing

We cleaned and organized our Christmas items in the basement and packed up 3 boxes of discard items this past Sunday, finishing up in an hour or so. I’m still on a high from that effort – we sorted outdoor decorations from tree decorations from other decor and labeled all the boxes so it’s easy to find what we want to pull out and use. I packed up all the discards and ran it to Goodwill on Tuesday at lunch. We have a much tidier section of the basement as a result. Still lots of tools and other storage items to go through and organize downstairs, but I’ll take that in sections over the winter and spring, I think. Some of my tools will make their way to my mom since we have a lot of duplicate items and she needs some basics. we’re making inroads in simplifying. Lots to do still, but lots more breathing space around the house, too.

Continue ReadingChristmas organizing

More organizing stuff

Another thing we accomplished over the Labor Day long weekend was some furniture moving. I had originally thought we’d get rid of the bar in the dining room, but we realized that we could swap it out for a gray mid-century modern storage cabinet from our bedroom and have a much better use of space. You can read this article to learn more about storage solutions and plans. The gray cabinet is not as wide, so it would fit neatly in the dining room and contain tablecloths and larger serving trays, and we could set our pachinko machine on it so people can play it.

Gray storage cabinet

Gray storage cabinet

Pachinko Machine

Pachinko Machine

So we managed, between the two of us to bring the gray cabinet downstairs and the bar upstairs, where the bar now is the home for our upstairs stereo, and we can fold sheets and blankets and put them neatly on the shelves underneath. And in all of the furniture relocation, we decided we wanted the china cabinet on a different wall in the dining room so we weren’t rattling the dishes when we walked past. You can check this 12 Tips for Creating the Ideal Office Workstation if you wish to create an inspiring an creative work space.
So everything is neatly in place, many items are now stowed in new homes and much clutter has disappeared. We still have a long way to go, but it’s getting better. Our next step is going to be spending some time sorting through Christmas items. We both have Christmas decorations that we don’t care about that could find a new place to live, but because we only look at them once a year, at the busiest time of year, and because it’s usually ever-loving frickin’ cold by that point, we don’t sort through stuff and slog it to Goodwill. I thought if we can go through it now when it’s warm and we’re not running off our feet, we could make more space in the basement.

After that – organizing tools in the basement. Even thinking about it leaves me overwhelmed, because there’s a lot to do. We receive lots of tools from Stephanie’s dad as gifts, and I need to come up with a real storage plan, because right now stuff is kind of half-ass.

Continue ReadingMore organizing stuff

More stairs repair

More stairs repair

This time we’re having a stair in the main staircase repaired; it tilted forward and caused guest to slip and fall on the stairs. We were used to it, but it was a problem when we had people over. To fix the stair, Carl had to pull out out pull it out and build up the space under it.

Continue ReadingMore stairs repair

Broken basement stairs fixed – Carl Lenk

We had air conditioner repairman in today to work on our condenser unit – he replaced the fan motor and did some cleaning so the central air runs better. Since I was going to be home anyway for that, I scheduled a carpenter named Carl Lenk to come and rebuild the top two basement stairs for us – they were both soft and in danger of breaking, and it always made us a bit nervous going up and down the stairs. Stephanie’s dad has been nagging us to get them repaired for months.

Carl did a wonderful job, and pictures of the work will be forthcoming soon.
As he was working on the stairs, I was reading Neal Taflinger’s blog about Homespun – the new store in Irvington that features work by local artists and crafts folks. The Taflingers are the folks who created INDIEhandicraft Exchange that we’ve attended several times – lots of great local artists making cool stuff.

So I’m reading a recent post on Neal’s blog about an artist they worked with to create the painted logo above the register in their shop, and it turns out that it was Carl Lenk – the very same dude who was rebuilding our basement stairs. Turns out that in addition to being a handy handyman, he’s a mural artist and sculptor doing work around town – very gorgeous stuff. Cool. We know a popular local artist and stuff.

Basement Stair Repair- Before

Basement Stair Repair - After

Continue ReadingBroken basement stairs fixed – Carl Lenk

Organizing, etc.

I know – still no photos from the great organizing adventure – but it’s continuing. We now have our new china cabinet, and the boxes of china and various other breakable items made their way into it. All of the packing materials for those went into the recycling bin. I also cleaned out the pantry closet (packed with old shopping and plastic bags that also went into the recycling bin) and put the tools we use regularly with it. I hung a clock in the dining room and a print that Stephanie had. My next steps – taking the remaining tools to the basement, taking an old wire shelving unit to it’s new home, and purging the tox-drop items and aluminum can collections this weekend.

I also need to go through my closet and assess my hanging clothes. Lots of them could find a new place to live. I also have some board games that I collected but will actually never play (as opposed to the ones we will) that will find a new home soon, too.

Continue ReadingOrganizing, etc.