House, Renos

Dishwasher Dramz (but ultimate success)

Our dishwasher has been getting progressively more broken for the past few months. I think it all started when a glass broken in the dishwasher and some of the shards of glass lodged themselves in some of the spinning parts that floosh the water around. Whatever the reason, the dishwasher has been on the fritz and getting fritzier by the minute. I took it apart numerous times and tried to clean out/repair what I could, but ultimately all I managed to do was delay the inevitable. Last week the electrical panel started acting up and we had to constantly reset the panel (using a weird button press pattern) but eventually it just wouldn’t finish a cycle no matter what we did.

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In the parking lot of Costco, awaiting rescue…

Yesterday my husband declared enough was enough and that it was time to buy a new dishwasher. He saw one at Costco for a good price and went and bought it. After a bit of drama around trying to get it home (turns out it would NOT fit into my hatchback, which forced us to impose upon Noah’s biomom/stepfather who have a truck…) it was time for me to install it.

Except it wasn’t because I am still recovering from a back injury.

After taking a couple muscle relaxers and a nap it was time. We turned off the breaker for the dishwasher, confirmed it was in fact off, and I got to work.

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Getting the old broken one out was a huge pain in the ass.

First I’d like to say that I consider myself a fairly handy, DIY-capable person and I generally take the Top Gear stance of “How hard can it be?”, but holy crap donkies, this was way more fuss than I anticipated. To start with, getting the old one out was a flipping pain in the ass. The waterline hose was so snug that it just wouldn’t come out far enough for me to be able to detach it. Plus, it was an old stiff copper tube so it wasn’t like it had much give.

Secondly, while I THOUGHT I had turned off the water I apparently hadn’t which meant when I did manage to detach the waterline I ended up spraying water EVERYWHERE and utterly soaking myself. My husband quickly ran over when he heard my shouts of “PROBLEM! PROBLEM!!!!” and got the water turned off correctly, and then every towel in the house was used to sop up the mess I made.

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“What did I get myself in to?”

Minor disaster, but it was deeply frustrating. It also served to instill some doubt in my husband as to whether I could actually do this. Normally he is relatively trusting that I can successfully pull off whatever renovation or project I have in mind and just lets me do my thing, but the flooding water all over our hardwood floor gave him pause.

Thirdly, after I finally got the old dishwasher out I realized I was missing a key bit of plumbing. I figured I’d be able to cannibalize whatever parts I needed off of the old one, but nope, not this one piece. It didn’t have an equivalent on the old one, so I had to trudge out to Home Depot to get it. While I was there I also got new flexible hosing to replace the old stiff copper pipe to hopefully make the installation of the new one a little easier on myself.

And finally, of COURSE the drain tube and the water supply pipe were now just thaaaaaaaaat much bigger and would no longer fit through the existing hole drilled through the cabinets. AAAAND of course I couldn’t find my hole punch drill bits anywhere to make the hole bigger (or make a second smaller hole for the water supply pipe) so I had to use a flipping hammer and chisel to widen the existing hole a wee bit to be able to get the pipes through. That felt like an unnecessary slap to the face in an already frustrating project, but if I’m going to be honest it didn’t take long to correct.

Far too much time and effort later, I actually managed to do it, and holy crap it works. And it works really well. The cycle is much shorter than our old one, and it is MUCH quieter than our old one as well.

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VICTORY!

There are a few lessons to be learned here, though.

  1. Don’t do appliance repair when you have a back injury.
  2. Copper tubing is evil. The flexible metal woven kind is MUCH better and it was well worth the bit of cost to make that switch.
  3. Turn off every water shut off valve you see, not just the one you are “sure” is the one for the dishwasher.
  4. Keep many many towels at the ready.

Dishwasher replacement, while a pain in the ass, is definitely doable. I think I could do this a lot more quickly and easily if I had to do this again, but holy crap I hope that isn’t any time soon. And my husband is very appreciative that I did it (since it saved the cost of having to hire someone else to do it). And my kid is extremely impressed as well.

DIY Projects, General, Redecorating, Sewing, Uncategorized

Chair recovering finished

All four chairs are done and over all I’m happy with the end result. Clearly, the new recovered chairs do NOT match the table or the original chairs, but they never were going to. Someday it may be a nice to strip the new chairs and stain them to a more similar colour, but for now they look okay. Also, the table itself is looking pretty worn and haggard these days and really needs to be refinished, but that is a project for another day.

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227.JPGI had a bit of leftover seat cushion fabric, so I made a suuuuper basic table runner. The idea is that by having the fabric also on the table it will make the whole set look more cohesive. I also chucked on the crystal bowl we got as a wedding gift to fancy the whole thing up a bit. End result? Passable. The runner actually looks good and does help to make things a bit more matchy matchy, but I still feel that the original chairs look fairly out of place. A good idea may be to do some slip covers for the backs of the original chairs (Jonathan doesn’t want me to make cushions for them…) to bring it all together, but then I worry that maybe it would start to look too busy and fussy.

So overall, this project was worthwhile and very easy. I also like how easy it is to change the fabric, so as our style changes I can VERY easily adapt the chairs to match. And this was seriously easy. The seats/cushions came off very easily. Taking the old fabric off along with all the staples was a bit of a pain in the ass until I decided to just be lazy and use an xacto knife to cut it off. Leaving the staples there and the thin strip of original fabric made things a lot faster and it didn’t seem to make any difference in the end. Cutting the fabric for the seats was as complicated as laying the fabric down, putting the seat on top of it, cutting out the general shape plus an inch or two on all sides. I then used my trusty staple gun and attached the fabric. I trimmed the excess fabric, reattached the seats, and that was that. Done. Absolutely a beginner level project.

  • Total cost was 50$ for the chairs and 16$ for the fabric, for a total of 66$.
  • Total time taken was about 10 minutes per chair (remove the cushion, remove the old fabric, put on the new fabric, reattach the cushion).

So 66$ and 40 minutes, we finally have enough chairs to seat more than 4 people at the table. Well worth it.

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General, Making Things, Redecorating, Uncategorized

Pretty dinner chairs

House prettification is progressing. I haven’t done a huge amount in terms of painting lately, aside from my office. Buh-bye, neon yellow. Hello, dark grey! Looks wonderful and serene and cosy. I have a lot more to say about my office but I’m saving that for another post.

We have invited Jonathan’s parents down for a visit this coming weekend and Jonathan had the idea that since his parents were going to be there, and since it was father’s day weekend, why not also invite my parents up that saturday for an “All Fathers Father’s Day Dinner”. I, being brilliant and hilarious, made up a funny invitation email that I sent to our parents, and they all accepted (of course).

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So there is going to be seven for dinner, but oh no! We only have 4 dinner table chairs, one of which has recently been broken by a certain rung-standing 9 year old.

Not anymore!

I went on kijiji and found an ad for 4 solid wood dinner chairs for 60$. The upholstery fabric on them was hideous but they seemed good otherwise. I ultimately got them for 50$, and got 15$ worth of fabric. I took the seats off each chair, took off the disgusting old fabric, attached my new fabric, and reattached the seats. End result is wonderful, frankly.

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So now we finally have enough dinner chairs, for the low price of 65$. Well worth it.

Uncategorized, Yarn Dyeing

EXPERIMENT: Dying my own yarn (part 1)

After making my felted slippers and a pair of felted mittens for my kid I am pretty hooked on it. I love how fast they are to knit (slippers made in one day, mittens made in one evening) and I love the texture and warmth of the felted items. Plus, tossing these extra huge items in to the washer and just hoping they turn out is thoroughly entertaining, though nerve wracking. So far I have only used the basic Lion’s Brand Fisherman’s Wool in Oak Tweed and the end result in terms of colour is a bit blah. Fine, but not exactly exciting. I have decided to turn this up to eleven and use different coloured yarns for felting. But not only that, I am dying my own yarn! SHABAM![pullquote]If you mind having your hands turn colours you may want to wear gloves when do dye. My hands are bright green at the moment because I did not.[/pullquote]

 

I’m being far from scientific or exacting with this, but I did record some basic values.

  • 4 balls of Fisherman’s Wool (Oak Tweed), each ball weighing 40g
  • Blue dye (1 tsp Wilton’s blue dye, 3 cups of hot water, 1 tbsp vinegar)
  • Yellow dye (1 tsp Wilton’s yellow dye, 3 cups of hot water, 1tbsp vinegar).
Looks pretty disgusting, frankly...
Super classy and professional dye method! ha ha ha

I briefly soaked the balls in water to try to saturate them a bit and then placed them in ziplock baggies with the dye, 2 in each bag. I let them sit there in the dye for ~15 minutes, squishing them occasionally to try to get the dye to penetrate but being very careful not to agitate them too much in case they felted. I then took them out of the dye (which I have saved in jars for later) and put them new baggies (one for the yellow balls, one for the blue balls). I microwaved the wet dye soaked balls for 1:30minutes each and they are now sitting in their baggies at home cooling off and (hopefully) having the dye really take. [pullquote]Everything I have read online says that dye bonds with wool at 180 degrees Fahrenheit (80 degrees Celsius) and that you must make sure your dye reaches that temperature.[/pullquote]I’m vaguely concerned over how much the blue will take, I have read a number of things that indicates that blue can be tricky. Fingers crossed though. I can’t wait to get home this evening to see what I have made!

 

Part two of my yarn dying experiment

Part three of my yarn dying experiment