Thursday, August 23, 2012

lighting - help!

So, as I told you, the kitchen renovation is slated to be finished by Christmas.  (Hope!  Hope!)  And by that, I don't mean that I plan to be unable to bake Christmas cookies because my stove will be covered in plaster dust.  I mean that toward the end of Advent, my kitchen will be beautiful, properly-appointed, and immaculate, welcoming to any person who should like to come by and pull up a stool while I take a batch of delicious hot cookies out of the oven. 

As it should be

Right now I have enough raw materials to keep me busy for quite some time, while I acquire other raw materials, so I'm in a good spot.  (After the party on Saturday, I'm building upper cabinet #2, stalking the weird craigslist lady for upper cabinet #3, and painting lower cabinets #1 and #2.  It remains to be seen whether there will be a lower cabinet #3.)  Butcher block and soapstone will come somewhere in there, but the critical path runs right through the farmhouse sink I am still looking for.  It will dictate countertop dimensions, and the scheduling of everything from the backsplash down.  I am really hoping to find it in September. 

As you can see (and know perfectly well if you've done any large-scale room remodels), these things have to be sequenced.  While I'm at the painting stage of one thing, I have to be at the repair/paint-prep on the next thing.  While I'm repairing that, I have to be purchasing the thing after that, and I need to be in the pre-purchase planning stage for the next thing.  And we hope they all end up in finished condition in my carriage house by the time I am ready to install them. 

Anyway, right now the acquisition planning dilemma is lighting.  I'm asking for your help, but I recognize that I may be beyond help.  So I like vintage lighting (you're shocked).  But I don't want trendy, vintage-style lighting that in ten years will look very "Oh, that was the teens, when that schoolhouse-type thing was in.  They're obviously not antiques."  So I have to pick something that really looks like it belongs with the antique stuff.  I'm not sure whether my taste is discriminating enough for that, but I have identified at least one commandment: ABSOLUTELY NO OIL-RUBBED BRONZE. 

You saw my pot rack:


It's this one, from Amazon:


This is a before photo (from the listing, actually), that shows the kitchen layout: 


The pot rack hangs on the little stretch of wall perpendicular to this window.  Under the window is (and will be) the sink.  I thought there should be a pendant light above the sink.  I have long liked this one, from Ikea:

It's $30.  That seems very reasonable.  It has an industrial vibe that I rather like, but may not belong in my kitchen.  Hmm...

This pendant is nice too ($37 at Lowe's):

It's non-descript, which is nice, but I don't know that I'm entirely in love with it.  (Also, it may be oil-rubbed bronze.)   

Then I found this:


It's AWESOME.  Look at that copper.  I love copper.  If you remember, I had my heart set on the all-copper Chambers stove.  Sigh.  Though I have laid that dream to rest (sniff), I am slowly accumulating copper accents in the kitchen.  I have some (now rather corroded - but I think that adds to the charm) copper flour canisters.  I have copper-bottomed skillets, though I need to get busy with some steel wool so you can see the copper again.  For our anniversary, my DH gave me some really beautiful things (that he would only have known how much I would adore if he had a spy inside my brain.  That person may or may not be my sister), including the most adorable mini-colander on the face of the earth:


IT HAS TINY FEET!!!  Obviously, it is hanging on the pot rack now.  And next to it could go that copper pendant light.  (It even has brass accents, too!) 

BUT. 

That copper pendant light is very industrial, isn't it?  All angles and bolts and utilitarian light-protect-y things.  It looks like it belongs in a (very, very pretty) warehouse.  I love that look.  I want somebody to do a kitchen with that look and adore it.  But it is not the look of my kitchen, and I don't know whether I can make them work together. 

Then I found this:


It's on a fantastic sale ($14 apiece!).  I know a lot of people don't like brass.  Personally, I only dislike brass if it is wearing a t-shirt that says, "This is the 80s calling, and we want our unflattering pants silhouette back."  I am not seeing that message here.  It's lovely, right?! 

But then it occurred to me that the pendant light over the sink is going to interfere with the pot rack, isn't it?  Even if the pots don't literally hit the light when coming on and off the rack (which would be bad), I think they might visually interfere.  A pendant would have to be centered over that window to look sensible, I think, so there's not much I can do with that.  But recently I did see someone hang an articulating office lamp from a wall, in a very cool office makeover:


I think I could do that.  And the lamp might be affordable!  And at this point it might be wise to point out something else.  As you may see in the before, formerly the cabinets on either side of the sink corner were connected by a hideous little canopy.  It came complete with a hideous little fluorescent light.  Said light was wired through the right-hand cabinet (it even has a light switch on it).  I have not yet demolished that cabinet.  If I were to run those wires through the new cabinet, and attach a light to the side of the new cabinet, I wouldn't have to run any wires through the wall; they're already where I'd need them to be.  And the light would be out of the way of the pots, without being off-centered - it would necessarily project out from that cabinet, and (I hope) look natural doing so. 

But I also want a pendant hanging in front of window #2, which is on the other side of the room.  There's nothing there now, but I'm planning to put a rolling work table in front of the window.  I'm not sure whether I can make an office lamp and a pendant lamp look like they match.  Does this one look like it goes with the brass pendant? 


Maybe I could ditch the pendant altogether, and do office lamps for both locations.  I could attach one to the top of the window frame, so it illuminates the work table.  (Even if I could figure out how to wire a lamp to the wiring from the old fluorescent light, I will never figure out how to hard-wire a brand new light fixture, will I?  I'm going to have to hire an electrician.  And he's going to put holes in the wall.  Suddenly I have a headache.) 

I showed all of these to my husband, who said the choices were confusing and overwhelming, and he basically really really liked the idea of having a copper one.  This morning I realized that I did, too, so the obvious solution was to ditch everything I had found so far and buy a pair of (affordable) shiny copper desk lamps and attach both to the wall.  I did a lot of searching, and the best I found was this ($90 at World Market):


It is neither inexpensive nor shiny nor copper.  Then I had another idea (I'm starting to think this is part of the problem): what about outdoor lighting?  This category includes lots of lights that are already designed to be wall-mounted.  And surely, at least one of them comes in shiny, shiny copper.

...but no.  Bewilderingly, infuriatingly, they do not have shiny copper outdoor lighting.  They do have some interesting options, however.  This is motion-sensing (and $50 at the big orange store):


How cool would that be?  I wouldn't have to worry about whether to wire it to a switch or have a little turn-off knob on the light itself (that's what I'd prefer).  Or worry about whether to wire them to the same switch.  They would turn themselves on and off!  If someone were working under them, they'd always be on.  And if someone came into the kitchen for a midnight snack, no fumbling around for a light switch.  Seriously, someone needs to look into this idea of motion-sensor lights in the kitchen. 

And it turns out that they do have antiqued copper.  It wouldn't have any special visual continuity with my other copper things, but it's nice-looking (not motion-sensing, though):


That one is $35.  It also comes in an adorable smaller version for $25.  Now I wish I needed lots of lights so I could do some in each size. 

Is this one cooler, or am I going too far?


I'm not aiming for the "I'm using outdoor lighting indoors!" look.  I'm trying to be suble here.  (No, really.)  (Although this one has a gargoyle and I can't not be a fan of that.) 

At this point, I realize, I can be sure of only two things:

(1) There are so many awesome options out there at good prices that everyone should have beautiful lighting in their kitchens.  (I know what I've shown here is a narrow range, looks-wise - thank God - but there are so many beautiful things.  If you're looking for something, let me know - I've probably seen five of it.)  I mean, if they have decent electrical skills.  (I don't.) 

(2) I am being punished for ridiculing people who have trouble making up their minds.  Just pick what you like and move on.  Is it that hard?  (Sometimes.  Yes, sometimes it is.) 

Sunday, August 19, 2012

the great cabinet caper

So I mentioned I had been up to some nonsense with some cabinets.  Specifically, these cabinets:

Though the circular saw (kindly lent by a friend) is helpfully in there for scale, it's not necessarily clear  from this picture that you're looking at something about eight feet wide.  I picked up this gem through craigslist for $100.  (Yes, I am a bargain shopper.  And yes, I thought that was a bargain.)

I didn't necessarily have a plan right at the outset, but by the time I got it home it was falling into place: I would use the section with the two facing doors to replace my main bank of upper cabinets.  As I may have mentioned, I have a very small kitchen.  The cabinetry is in an L-shape, with a window at the corner, so there are basically two small runs of cabinetry.  The larger (no, really) one looked like this:

(That item off to the right is a vintage spice cabinet I picked up at the thrift store.  It even has suggestions for which herbs and spices to use with which meals.  So awesome.)

Anyway, my goal would require me to split off the frame that joins the third door, chop the extra length off all the shelves, add a bottom (which was totally missing), add a side (on the side where I'd sawed things off), and extend the depth of the cabinets (which at just over a 9" inside depth wouldn't fit my plates).  And add reinforced rails to support attachment to the wall.  And wrap the trim around the newly-cut side.  Oh, and did I mention the paint job?

I think there might be a motivational - or demotivators - poster slogan to the effect that there's no limit to what you can do when you don't know what you can't do.  This is frequently true in my case, although it is equally true that I often plunge in and find out that I can't, in fact, do whatever it is.  So, of course, I set to work.  First I did a lot of sawing.  Some of it was decidedly less than competent sawing, but somehow I made it through.  Then I spent an exhausting amount of time at the Big Orange Store, buying a 4 x 8 piece of 3/4" plywood and a bunch of 2 x 3 framing lumber, and having a very, very patient employee cut them for me on a REALLY AWESOME SAW.  I think I was in there for about ninety minutes.  They move all their stock around every ten minutes, and it took me half an hour just to find L-brackets.  Sheesh.
So anyway, I got the stuff home.  I had already cut off the part that attached the third door, and cut off the extra length on the top and the shelves.  Then I attached my new 3/4" plywood, and I had a new bottom and side:

What I forgot to buy at the store was a try-square.  So I eyeballed the joint between the sawed edges of the shelves and my new side panel.  The good news is that I measured the edges of the shelves square; the bad news is that I just couldn't get the saw that accurate (especially since I had to run the saw up against the cabinet frame).  Further bad news is that I didn't eyeball it square.  The good news is that I was pretty close (only off by a degree or so), and I didn't shim them unnecessarily.  But the ultimate problem is that I didn't shim it very well:

Then I added my 2 x 3s.  As you may know, "dimensional lumber" is sold in "nominal" measurements.  That is, if a piece is sold as eight feet long, it is really eight feet long.  But a 2 x 4 is actually 1.5" x 3.5".  Similarly, 2 x 3s are actually 1.5 x 2.5 inches.  So I figured if I attached the studs behind the existing shelves, the cabinet would be 1.5" deeper, and I could sink deck screws through the pieces to attach the cabinet securely to the wall.  I'd already taken on a lot of operations I don't have the skill for, so I decided not to get ambitious with the joinery.  I attached the studs with the brass L-brackets (look in the corner):

Then it was on to more difficult operations.  I had to get matching trim on the new side of the cabinet. Fortunately, I had cut off a large section of the top, so I had some extra trim I could use.  It took me a bit of trial and error to figure out how to do the angles, because the top curve is not actually trim - it's the top of the cabinet itself, which has a rounded edge.  (Did I mention these cabinets are a century old?  How did they do all this work with no power tools?)  My results weren't perfect, but I did get the trim to wrap around:

After that, the cabinets got a second sanding, a second scrubbing, two bleachings of the doors (they looked like they had some mold), caulk (you can see I'd already started the caulking in the picture above), and paint.  Then my DH and I went to town on the previously-existing cabinets, and got ourselves a nice blank wall to work with:

You can see where I attached a ledger board (the horizontal 2 x 3) up there.  (I also painted - I've been painting the kitchen walls yellow one section at at time, as I demolish things on the walls).  I measured like five times so I would have half an inch of clearance between the top of the cabinet and the ceiling.  And the cabinet didn't fit.  I measured again just to see whether I was mistaken, and I wasn't; the cabinet was simply defying the laws of physics, growing when it got into the vicinity of the ledger board.

So, I moved the ledger board, and we put it up there and tried to sink it in.  It was impossible.  What I had failed to realize was that, when I moved the ledger board down 3/4", I did not also re-drill the holes in the wall (which go through the studs, so they need to be pre-drilled) 3/4" lower.  So we took the cabinet off and I re-drilled the holes, and we tried again.  This time, most of the deck screws went in (I set it up for twelve, and at least seven are in there correctly, with three questionable and two absent.  Typically cabinets have four, though typical cabinets do not weigh 100 pounds).

Then, after I painted the wall behind it to match the cabinet, with my husband (who did most of the work of securing the cabinet) napping, I decided I would just nip over and hang the nice pot rack I got at Amazon so that whole wall would be done.  No major carpentry project - just assemble the cute little kit and sink some quick screws in the wall!  Of course, I decided to improve on the wall anchors that came with the kit (not strong enough!).  I had measured, and sadly it wouldn't align with the studs, but I happened to have two extra toggle bolts.

In theory, you can either sink deck screws into studs, or put toggle bolts (which hold 100 pounds each) through the drywall; either there are studs, or the drywall is hollow, and will hold the bolts.  Except this never works for me.  There is always some major piece of solid lumber lurking behind the drywall where there are no studs (and no, this wall is not lathe and plaster).  I ruined the second toggle bolt trying (of course it wasn't the first.  That way I would only have had to patch the wall once.  This way I could make two giant holes in the wall).  And then I thought, "That must be a stud.  I can use a deck screw."  But when I went to pre-drill it, of course, it wasn't.  I figured I would still use one toggle bolt, but naturally, the second time, it wouldn't go in straight, and landed at a wonky angle.  Do I care?  I do not care.
At this point I was close to nervous collapse.  But the wall looks pretty good:

I have FIFTY-TWO INCH cabinets.  Take that, stupid expensive kitchen designer people.  (The lumber and hardware were about $80, which seems like a lot, but that means all my upper cabinets will be $180.  Oh, plus $35 for the pot rack.  TAKE THAT, IDEABOOKS THAT RECOMMEND $250 POT RACKS.  WHAT IS THAT ABOUT?!)

And you know that third cabinet door I removed?  I cut it in half, and the two pieces will be the doors for a cabinet over my stove.  This time I'm building the box from scratch, which, as I may have mentioned before, I expect to be easier.  After that, I will learn to make a sink base completely from scratch.  Stay tuned...I hope to redo the whole kitchen by Christmas.

Finally, HAPPY ANNIVERSARY, TCIEs!!!

P.S.: I am linking up to Susan's Metamorphosis Monday

Monday, August 13, 2012

the kitchen cometh...sluggishly

I am making awesome progress on my big cabinet.  It's gotten two coats each of paint and varnish now (arguably it needed three of each, but I got impatient and you can't go back and add more paint), which means all the structural work is done.  If not done flawlessly.  (Possibly not even well.  Well - I think I did some of it well.)  I still have to paint and varnish the insides of the cabinet doors, so it's not ready to go on the wall yet (plus I have to remove the existing cabinets, plot stud lines, and attach a ledger board...patience).  But there will be pictures. 

Then, I have to summon up the energy to make all the cuts (14 total, I believe) for the pieces for the other upper cabinet.  That one will be built almost from scratch; I have only the doors, and those I've split from a single previous door.  It may be totally insane for someone with no carpentry skills to make kitchen cabinets from scratch, but I swear, this one is going to be way easier than the previous one.  (Really.) 

And on Saturday, I bought a replacement oven.  I got a great price on it compared to its lamented awesome vintage predecessor (for which an ad will go up on craigslist, maybe as soon as tonight), which turns out to be a good thing, because getting the plumber people to come out and hook it up will not be cheap.  (I was a genius for timing the acquisition of the previous one to coincide with their rebuilding of the bathroom.  Too bad I was not enough of a genius to get that oven to work.) 

So in not too long, I should have totally working appliances, and all-new upper cabinets.  I have also ordered a pot rack from Amazon (I hope it looks as cool in person - it should be here any day), which will almost round out all the upper storage in the kitchen.  The one missing item is a fantastically cool antique cabinet that is an unusual size and shape, and will fit perfectly on a shallow wall that currently has no cabinetry.  It's being sold by someone on craigslist who appears to be a little off, and has stopped returning my emails (she seemed happy to let me buy it before that), but I have decided to be uncharacteristically philosophical: that cabinet is meant to be in my kitchen.  If I am patient, it will come back to me.  (It already has once before.  I'll tell you the story some time.) 

That leaves lower cabinets and the sink (well, I'm also repairing the walls, putting up a backsplash, replacing the floor, moving the fridge, painting, and looking for a very specific work table.  It's a fairly comprehensive remodel).  And today I found two lower cabinets that will fill just over half of the lower-cabinet spots I am seeking to fill.  Total price for this pair: $20.  I haven't picked them up yet (hoping to tonight), but I'm pretty pleased with myself. 

(For the record, both upper cabs were $170 counting the antique cabinetry and new lumber and hardware; the pot rack is $35; the mystery upper cabinet is allegedly $20; and the stove was $170...but it will cost more than that just to hook up.) 

I should be unbelievably delighted with my new skills, the lack of disasters (so far) engendered by my probably excessive ambitions, and the fact that I may be able to do a total kitchen remodel for (I'm doing some math here) $1900.  I mean, I'm not counting the purchase of a power drill or a palm sander, but I've used those for lots of things now and they weren't that expensive anyway.  I borrowed the circular saw.  And I've ballparked the price of some future purchases, but I don't think I'm that far off.  For replaced flooring, cabinetry, countertops, sink, and stove, and no stop-gap measures (i.e., I am buying only materials I actually want, and all of them are objectively upgrades from what was there, even if not to everyone's taste), I think that borders on unheard-of (and I read lots of DIY stuff).  To say nothing of doing the work myself - my DH has helped me move stoves, and I am hoping he will hold upper cabinets while I attach them, and he says very nice things about what I'm doing, but I am doing this almost entirely by myself.  (Which is sometimes scary, but actually fine with me.  Even six months ago I assumed I would hire a carpenter to help with cabinets.  I am so excited about what I have been able to do so far.) 

Instead, I am terrified - I think my spending habits have gotten out of control and I am worried that I will lose it completely and throw us into bankruptcy.  I think this might be projection of my general worry about my future and the path of my life, but after I knock a few more things off my list, I'm going to try to go a whole month and spend money on nothing but groceries (and nothing fancy) and gas.  I am hoping that will rein in the anxiety a little. 

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

facebook suddenly got better

My sister, who loves me, just emailed me to tell me that it may now be safe for me to join facebook.  Because of this

Come on, you should read the whole thing.  Here's a taste of why: the article's writer is a childless woman (but not an infertile woman, which means she doesn't fully understand the oppression-by-baby-pictures phenomenon - no doubt it's one she intends to participate in herself, at some future date).  She doesn't plan to use the technology described, as she finds it adequate to scroll past the baby pictures of others.  But I think she accurately captures a concerning social phenomenon (separate and apart from the issues that accompany infertility), which she terms "Facebook's gradual evolution into yet another way that smug parents can force the world to look at their unremarkable children." 

In other words, even if I weren't having problems having children, even if I had a great huge brood of my own, the self-obsession that causes so many parents to plaster not their own refrigerators but the entire world with photographs of their young is not an admirable thing.  And it is a new thing.  My mother did not do this.  My mother also told her kids that we had to listen to our teachers, and the other adults in town, and she would have laughed until she cried if someone had suggested that we were perfect, extraordinary, and incapable of error.  Because she knew us.  Sometimes I wonder whether the average parent these days has met his children...

I just like to think that infertility gives me a special insight into this.  And a special appreciation of the beneficent google that has provided cats to remedy this situation. 

But I'm still not joining. 

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

shopping

While we're on random home decor - I just went to Ikea for the first time in a while, people (I was shocked at myself!), and I discovered things.  Possibly the Ikea marketing department was already aware of them, but I'm just sharing. 

In my prior post, I mentioned the Ikea Mongstad mirror, only I forgot what it was called.  It's now $129 instead of $99, for the record.  And I looked at the tag closely, and it's not solid wood.  So I don't so much recommend that.  (It's way too big and heavy to survive as a synthetic.)  But I also discovered the Ikea Songe mirror.  Mirror:

There are ever so many reasons this mirror is awesome (and you may now consider it to replace the random-Ikea-mirror-whose-name-I've-forgotten recommendation in my post below.  I know you've all been on pins and needles about that).  Let me count them.  (1) It's solid wood (with a silver covering).  This is especially impressive given that it's not a wood color, and they could have kind of gotten away with particle-board.  Solid wood with foil is basically the traditional technique for silvering frames, so points there.  (2) It's huge - 77" tall.  That's a lot taller than I am.  Quite the statement!  (3) It has a lovely, traditional feel to it, and would look nice next to antiques.  (4) And yet I suspect the modern contingent would like it.  It has relatively simple lines, especially given its size.  (5) It's $99.  For all that awesomeness! 

I am not in the market for a very large mirror (except for virtual shopping purposes, as below), so I am not planning to buy it presently.  But should I discover the need for a full-length mirror (and I'm trying to do silver-framed things in our room.  So, maybe...), this will probably be the one I go with.  Unless I discover a fantastic price on some fabulous antique, naturally. 

What else did I discover?  Well, I've been looking for curtains for my living room forever.  I've found nice window treatments (at good prices) for basically every other room.  But the living room confounded me.  For the longest time I figured I needed some sort of heavy floral or paisley in jewel tones, to bring together all the colors in the room.  (I have to confess here that my theoretical understanding of how to bring together the color in a room has been shaky, and is slowly improving.  Apparently it was worst in the curtain department; I have basically gotten lucky by accident several times, and bought curtains I really liked that weren't what I had in mind, but worked much better than what I had in mind.)  When I wasn't able to find that, I decided that it would make more sense to do heavy taffeta in broad stripes, which has an elegant feel to it (that part I stand by).  But I still wanted to do strong colors, to bring together the room's future color scheme. 

This search has limped on for many months.  Curtains are expensive (very, as it turns out), and the living room has three windows; two will require 96" curtains.  Ross and Home Goods have great prices on curtains, but pretty much only in 84", and pretty much only in sage, taupe, ivory, and champagne.  (What manufacturers decided that America should be curtained only in those colors???)  Notthatthere'sanythingwrongwiththat but I don't do taupe home decor.  Or beige walls.  Or white walls with "pops of color."  And I don't distress furniture - it will get older all by itself.  Or speak to people who paint exotic hardwood antiques in Annie Sloan's Chalk Paint STOP IT YOU ARE NOT AN ARTIST AND THAT IS NOT BEAUTY IT IS A TREND THERE IS A DIFFERENCE.  Whew.  OK, moving on. 

So at some point I realized that the way to bring together disparate colors in a room is not to find wildly colorful curtains in a print that somehow brings in all the other colors in the room.  That well may work sometimes (I am sure there are even people out there who do this consistently and make it look beautiful), but it is not the curtain-picking commandment and it has proven largely impossible with all the colors I have and it's becoming pretty clear that even if I could do it, it would look really funny in my living room.  So I settled on two criteria (besides being the right size and, obviously, the right price): (1) fabric with some elegance to it - not necessarily formal, but with a wee bit of presence; and (2) simple color (maybe more than one) that matches the walls. 

Then I stumbled on the Ikea "Anita" curtains in gray.  The gray coordinates with the paint chip for my living room (but is darker), and the fabric has subtle jacquard stripes plus flowers, which I think looks nice.  They're $30 a pair, which means curtain rods for my living room will be $90 plus tax plus curtain rods (and that feels really wasteful and I am asking myself questions like, "Why am I considering curtains a need?  Fine, there are no real curtains in there now and I dislike roller-shades, but they are functional.  This isn't like food or shelter, or even having chairs versus no chairs.  This is real money and I feel like I spend way too much of it).  And of course the store was out of them when I went even though the internet said it wasn't, so I am debating maybe buying them in a month when I don't feel like I've been going nuts with shopping.  But we are throwing a big party at the end of the month and I'd so like to have the house close to done so people can see it the way I mean it to look...but there will always be something else...

(This post might have more to do with my damaged psyche than shopping.) 

OK, I also discovered other things that I am not buying, which is a happier subject.  I discovered that Ikea has expanded the color selection for its velvet curtains!  They're called Sanela, but of course are not on its website right now even though they're always on its website.  I bought the blue ones for my dining room, and I like them very much.  They also came in a nice red (much too strong a color for me, but clearly a good red), and brown and tan.  That's rather restrictive.  Now, they also come in a strong plum, a nice graphite gray, and a lovely turquoise.  I don't have any other rooms that need curtains (yes, I pondered), but these are some nice options to have, for those who are looking. 

And then there is other shopping...I brought back the lovely white cabinet from my in-laws' (I should really have a picture of this, and I will soon), and I think I did a good job repairing and repainting it.  I even varnished the shelves so they'll be sturdier in the face of scratches.  But it's got hefty crown molding at the top, so I'm looking for a sort of buffet or credenza to put under it, so the top can be close to ceiling height.  I've been looking assiduously, and found several on craigslist that are practically being given away.  I have a height limit due to the low ceiling in that room and the height of the cabinet, so when the sellers don't specify dimensions (which irritates me), I email them, tell them how interested I am, and ask for measurements.  And then...they never respond.  I have bought a lot of things on craigslist and I'm pretty clear on the etiquette.  Sellers generally like me and I never have trouble.  But I am stumped.  Where is it written that if I say I'm interested, I send my number, and I use my real name, but I ask how tall the item is, that means I am a harasser who has no intention of purchasing and should be permanently ignored?  This is very irritating. 

I also think I need a china cabinet, and I am working on finding one for a good price, but I think $100 is about as well as I'll do.  I have some specific criteria (antique, obviously), but I'll find it eventually.  But I feel bad about the $100 anyway...

And then there's the stove.  As of last night I finally threw in the towel.  I have tried everything, including trying to persuade local places to repair it (no), and to persuade antiquegasstoves.com to explain to me how to repair it - or, really, to explain to me what part I need to buy from them to repair it.  The woman who answered told me with great (perhaps excessive) firmness that I needed to press the safety buttons, and after we established that my stove does have them (she was right - and I would never have found those on my own; they are very artfully camouflaged, which seems pretty stupid), I tried that, and it didn't work either.  The oven pilot lights still work, but they produce no other flame.  The only thing I have accomplished is causing it to leak from somewhere, which it previously didn't.  I probably have the skills to find and fix the leak, but that wouldn't make the ovens work.  I know the seller lied about the ovens working when he bought it, but there's really nothing I can do.  I am tired, and I have put myself largely on hold from other projects while I worked on this, and I have spent money on parts, and hours scratching up my hands.  I am selling it and buying a stainless steel one (I've already contacted one seller - and, no, of course the person hasn't replied), and I am not looking back. 

And the stupid thing is, it probably took all these months of unpleasantness to make me feel OK with having a modern stove.  I will just be relieved; but otherwise, I would have been sad.  What a waste of time and money just to change my attitude!  Of course, if the seller had been telling the truth, I think those ovens would both be working now, and I'd have a magnificent and functional stove that I would be incredibly happy with, and have long since moved on to refinishing cabinets...but it's no use crying over spilled milk. 

On the bright side, I have undertaken a Herculean labor with the giant panel of antique cabinets I bought from craigslist right before the stove (and which have since been neglected in favor of the stove).  I have devoted many hours to them over the past week (as I let go of the stove), and though it is taking much more time than I thought, I am making progress (with many, many imperfections and errors in my carpentry, of course).  I think I will soon have a magnificent pair of antique cabinets haning in my kitchen (reminding me that I need to get working on the rest of the room, stat).  I plan to share pictures of this adventure - it may take me another week to finish, but I will actually finish this one. 

On to other adventures...