Thursday, October 25, 2012

Living room redo - looking better and better

I have to admit the last pictures I posted of our living room re-do were pitiful.

If you missed my last post, you can see them here.

As promised, here are some much better pictures of how our living room is coming along:

The wall color is called "classic silver".
The trim color is white semi-gloss.

The room loks a little more filled in this week. I have slowly been bringing things in like throw blankets, pillows and knick-knacks.
It's taking me a little longer than I planned to get pictures hung on the walls.

The TV will eventually be hung on the wall above where you see it now. We are waiting to find a good price on the hanger thing for it. We were hoping to find a hanger for $50.00 or less, but the one that fits our TV is $85.00 (YIKES!). We'll keep looking and hopefully find something reasonable.

Standing by the TV, this half of the room needs a lot more work.

There are grey sheets on our furniture. I know the sheets are tacky, but it's much better than what is underneath!!!

Eventually we will replace the furniture with a new love seat and chair, or buy some "real" furniture covers.

I covered the big ottoman, although it needs to be re-done using a material that does not collect dog hair. Some of the softer materials seem to be worse than others with the dog hair. We have two of the most shedding-est dogs EVER!!!

A close up of the big ottoman:
Excuse the dog hair, it's a fact of life at our house.

The throw pillows.........I made them hand!!! I was too lazy to get my sewing maching out, so I hand stitched them all.

This turquiose and black pillow is one of my favorites. It's my first quilt-block I ever made, and I hand stiched the entire thing. I am very proud of this pillow. Although you can't tell in the photo, this pillow is very close to perfect as far as the stitching goes. All of my corners met up perfectly. (If you sew, you know it is a great moment when your corners line up perfectly!!)

I usually make my curtains myself, but this time Tim and I went to Target to see what they had. I was looking for something bright to add some color to the room, but Tim found these, and I think they are perfect! The color is a darker gray, so they do stand out a bit. They aren't as bright as I would have liked so I guess I will have to add color to the room in other places.

They are a little bit see-through. I may add some material to the back to make them more opaque.
It took 4 pannels to cover the entire window.

A close up of the design on the curtains. I love them!

I also recovered this stool:

And now it looks like this:
A little blurry, but you get the idea. How's this for a little color???

The stool was a garage sale find from a year or two ago. Here is the post I made about it when I first got it and recovered it.

The carpet in the living room has been removed. It was really a giant rug that Tim's granny gave us when we moved in. It was getting stained and smelly, and I was tired of it.
We are on the hunt for a rug for the room, hopefully something with bright colors.

The floors in the living room and hallway both really need to be re-done. They look pretty bad. I'm also not crazy about the orangy color of the hard wood.  Tim and I have talked about sanding and staining them ourselves, or getting lamanate snap-together floors and installing it on top of the hard wood.

I think we have ourselves talked into the laminate floors, because neither of us has the energy to sand and stain (and repair) the existing floor. Either way it will be a huge job. I'll post about it when we get to that point. For now, we think a big 10X12 rug will help.

A pic of my orangy 1952 hardwood floor:

Did you notice THIS????

This is an old watch-makers bench that belonged to Timmy's grandpa. It's really awesome!!
Tim's grandpa died a long time ago (I think back in the 80's) and his watch-makers bench was given to Tim when he died. It's been in Tim's moms house for all of these years.
Tim's mom is getting ready to move, so the bench got to come live with us.

Tim was realy excited to see this watch-makers bench get moved to our house. He has childhood memories of his grandpa working at this bench. Tim was the oldest grandchild, and he was really close to his grandpa.

I really love it. It's my new pride and joy. I hope I can take as good of care of it as my mother-in-law has for the last 30+ years. It's really a nice piece, and it looks great in our living room.

There are still old tools in the drawers!!!

I put a fake plant inside for now, and the TV needs to be hung on the wall.
That cube shelf thing is only there temporarily. I had nowhere to put the DVR box, so I had to find something. When we hang the TV, we will figure out a better plan for the DVR box and DVD's.

From here, I need to inject COLOR into my living room. I'm not exactly sure how I'll do that, but I'm working on a few ideas. When we hang the shelves, and pictures on the walls, it should brighten up the room a lot too.

I'm not quite sure where I'm heading, but I love it so far!!

Here is a quick before and after of the living room:





There is quite a difference between the two.
I have to admit I loved my living room the "old" way, It was very cozy and homey with the darker color on the walls. But I also really love the new color too!! It's nice to have a fresh palate to work with, and I'm having a lot of fun with the decorating.

I'll keep you posted as we continue on!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Cruise News: The planning is *almost* as fun as the cruise

I'm thick in the planning stages of my next 2 cruises. I'm so excited, even though I still have just over 10 months until it's time to go (312 days to be exact). The time will go by fast though, there is still so much to do.

I'm counting down to my 10 days on the Carnival Victory!!!

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If you want to know the 'backstory' for these 2 cruises I'm taking, who is going with me, and what islands  I'm cruising is my previous post from back in August with all of those details.

In the last 3 months I've been working on some of the smaller details for the cruise.

All of the fun is in the DETAILS!!!

Pre-cruise details:
Before the cruise, we will be flying into Miami or Ft Lauderdale, which ever is cheaper. We will fly in the day before the cruise so we will need a hotel to stay in for the night.

On our last cruise, Tim and I stayed at the Intercontinental Hotel at the port.
The Intercontinental Hotel is a five star hotel and they have rooms that overlook the port, so you can really "watch your ship come in".
Fabulous!!! Tim and I really enjoyed our stay there last year, and I was able to book our room for last year's cruise for $109.00 ................which is an amazing price for a five star hotel at the Port of Miami.

This time, I thought I would look for a different hotel. There is a Marriot and also a Doubletrree just north of the Port (The Intercontinental is just south of the port).
I did some research on these two hotels and I found two things.

1) I can't get a cheap rate for either the Doubletree or the Marriot, and
2) They aren't within walking distance of the Bayside shops and restaurants.

So, I am again looking at staying at the Intercontinental before the cruise. It just seems to be the nicest, cheapest and most convenient for what we need.

Here is a map of the port area:

The black star is the port, where the ships dock.
The top red star is the Marriot and the Doubletree.
**The lower red star is the Intercontinental.**
The orange circle is the shopping/restaurants at Bayside Marketplace.

The Intercontinental is probably going to be where I make my reservation.

Cruise details: 
My room is booked for BOTH cruises!!! I poured over maps of the ship, room locations and prices, and I picked out this room at the back corner of the ship on deck 8 for both legs of my cruise:

My room will be 8428, and just look at that BALCONY!!!!!!

My room only holds 2 people. My sister will be with me for the first 5 days, and my best friend will be joining me for the 2nd 5 days.

Two of my (grown) kids are also going on the first cruise with me.

I booked room 8426 for the kids to share, it's the closest inside room I could get for them. (shown above with the black arrow)
I'm pretty sure we will all spend quite a bit of time on my balcony though, since the kids won't have one.

Here is a picture of the outside of the back of the ship. The arrow is pointing to my balcony cabin.
Dreaming about watching sail-away from that balcony with a cold slushy drink of the day in my hand.

Port & Excursion details:
I don't have details worked out for every port yet, but the plans for Half Moon Cay have been worked out:

Half Moon Cay (Carnival's private island) -and it happens to be the most beautiful place I have ever been in my life.
I am so excited to be going back here!

HMC (also known as Little San Salvadore Island) is a tiny island in the Bahamas, shown here with a handy red arrow:

Oh my!!! I can't wait to go back!
The beach is the shape of a moon,  and aparently how the island got it's name.

Since this is just a beach day (not much else to do there), I thought it would be nice for the 4 of us to be able to hang out in a cabana and get some shade if we need it, so I rented one for us for the day.

Renting a cabana on HMC isn't as easy as it sounds. There are almost 3,000 people on the ship, but there are only 15 cabanas on Half Moon Cay to rent. I had to log in to the Carnival website every day (sometimes twice a day) to watch for the cabana rentals to show up for bookings. After that, it's a race to get one, and I'm happy to say I did manage to get my cabana rental!

They are a little pricey at $230.00 for the day, but well worth it.

I'm not sure which cabana we will have, because after we get on board the ship, we will need to go to the Excursion desk to pick ours out. I do plan to pick out a cabana at the farthest end of the beach, where it is a little quieter.

The cabanas on Half Moon Cay look like this, except they are all different colors:

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The cabana rental includes lounge chairs, a table and chairs, a fresh water shower, a refrigerator, air-conditioner, ceiling fan, misting fan, snorkel gear and floaty mats for 4 people, drinks & snacks. There will be a free lunch on the island for everyone, so that day is pretty much taken care of as far as planning goes. I'm ready!!!!

So far so good with the planning!!! I'm working on some of the details for the other islands we will be visiting. More cruise updates to come!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

A look inside the gates of the Lacygne Power Plant

Timmy works at a Power Plant that is about an hour south of our house in La Cygne Kansas (pronounced LaSeen). Last Saturday, they had a "Family Day" which is rare, and I got a look inside the gates of an operating Power Plant.

OK, so they call it a Generating Station, but most of us know it as a "Power Plant".

Here is a picture of the plant that my stepson took for me as we were driving across the dam.

This Power Plant furnishes electricity to A MILLION houses and businesses in the Kansas City area. (Western Missouri and Eastern Kansas area.)

The red and white stacks you see are the old chimneys for the Power Plant. The grey concrete stack is the new chimney (just built this year) and is going to be used to create cleaner coal emissions. This is the answer to cleaning up the exhaust and emissions coming from the plant and into the air that we breathe. More on the cleaning process later.....

But first, it's FAMILY DAY at the Power Plant so let's see a little of the barbecue picnic and the fun they had set up for us:

There was a big yellow and white tent set up with tables and chairs for us to eat our lunch (hamburgers, hotdogs, potato salad, chips, drinks) and they had several fun things for the kids to do.

Everything was free to do, and we enjoyed cotton candy (I ate two!)

They had a fun airbrush tattoo booth.

I got my first tattoo!

Tim's step-mom is getting a tattoo too!

She got a butterfly:

My stepson Patrick also got a tattoo. He got a red fox:

After our tatoos, we walked around a little bit while we waited for Tim to join us. He was busy helping get all of the cars parked. That's my Timmy with his arm up directing cars, and that's Timmy's boss across the parking lot.

There was a little truck with ice cream, fried twinkies, fried oreos, etc.....all free for us for the day

A gal making balloon creations for the kids

They also had a photo booth.

Tim and I had some fun with the photo booth. We went in there expecting to just get a few "normal" pics of us together. 

Like this one:

But after she snapped the first shot, she called in to us that we should find a prop (from the buckets near our feet) and we had about 6 seconds to pick something out of the bucket before the next shot would be snapped. We went for it!

Our second shot had us both cracking up!! I grabbed a viking hat but
look at Timmy's lips!! That was too funny, and we could see the shot on a small screen inside the booth just after it was snapped.

We were laughing from looking at that shot, and now we had 6 seconds to pick a new prop. 
This is what we came up with, and of course there was more laughing when we saw the picture.

6 seconds later, and we looked like this:

Tim's bunny ears just kill me!!! 

The photobooth was quite a fun time. I had never been in a photobooth before, unless you count Chuck E Cheese's photobooth, but that was a long time ago, and they didn't have props.

Timmy showed us where he works in the warehouses. (The two metal buildings below) He is a Foreman and is in charge of shipping and receiving. Every single part, piece and bolt used in this project comes through the warehouse before it is distributed to it's final destination in the Power Plant.

Next we went to line up for the tour buses to tour the plant.

In this pic, Tim's dad (Bob) is in the green jacket and Tim's step-mom (Sue) is in blue.

That's a rare pic of Tim's son Patrick, and of course there is my Timmy:

While we waited for the tour buses, they had a crane running and were showing us how it works. They were letting kids "help" raise and lower the ball. It was a huge crane, and I'm sure this was thrilling for the little kids. I thought it was pretty cool. 

Within a few minutes, the tour buses came around to load us up for a tour.
There was a trolley

And there was some kind of yellow submarine looking bus. Tim and I picked the submarine bus:

The inside of the submarine bus was kinda cool. We found out later the submarine bus was a last minute pick. The other bus they had ordered for us had a problem and the submarine was a substitute. It was a nice bus, but a little difficult for picture taking because of those small round windows. It turned out OK, and I was able to get my pictures.

 On with the tour!

First, let me start with my disclaimer (and I'll make it quick): I know nothing about the operations of this or any Power Plant. Zip. Zilch. Nada.
The info I am about to give you is coming from what I learned on the tour. Timmy is doing his best to explain these pictures to me, and I'm doing my best to convey this info correctly. If you notice that I have any of my info wrong here, please feel free to correct me!

So, back to one of my "bigger pictures" of the whole plant,
The red and white stacks are the stacks they have been using since this Power Plant was built in 1973.

The concrete stack is the "new" stack, just built in the last year. It's purpose is to clean up the exhaust and emissions that come from the Power Plant.

La Cygne is a "coal fire generating station". In order to provide electricity to those million homes in Kansas City, they use turbines to generate electricity. 

The turbines are driven by steam. The steam is created by burning coal and heating water. 

Every day, a train full of coal arrives at the power plant with approximately 100 cars full of coal. 

The coal is burned, which then super-heats water in a boiler. This creates steam.  The steam turns the turbine, which turns the generator, which makes the electricity. 

The "building" below that looks like it is made entirely of scaffolding and pipes, is actually not really a building at all. It's a giant boiler.

Below is a closer view of the boiler.
You can see two boilers next to each other.

See the long green building? I'll point to it with a handy arrow....
The turbines are in that building

The structure being built in the picture below is going to be "Bag House #1"

The Bag House is going to be sort of like a giant vacuum cleaner. It will collect all of the ash out of the exhaust using forced air. The ash will be separated and collected.

Below, you can see a triangle thing. (I have no idea what the name of it is). That triangle thing is being welded together now. When it is complete, it will be turned upside down - pointy side down - and will be used to collect ash.

Below on the left, you can see a smaller building - with orange scaffolding -  they are building beside the new stack.
This will be an "Absorber" building. Here, ground limestone gets mixed with water and will be forced into the exhaust. This takes out the sulpher and also circulates. This absorber building will make the exhaust about 98% clean.

Another picture of the new Absorber building - with the small door - next to the new stack.
Inside the Absorber building will be balls (like small cannon balls) that will smash and pulverize the limestone.

These giant green things are liners for the new stack. They are made on site. They are made of a material that will not corrode from the lime.

These are ammonia storage tanks. They use ammonia to further clean the exhaust.

Below, the giant brown containers are the old fly-ash silos.
Fly-ash comes from the burning coal smoke. 
The fly-ash is collected through the Baghouse and then can be used for things like making concrete, or road bases.

Below is the conveyor that takes the limestone to the absorber building.

Below are giant pumps. They pull the water from the man-made lake that surrounds the Power Plant. The pumps pull the water out of the lake at 800,000 gallons per minute!! WOW!

The water is used to cool the steam, and then the water is sent back into the lake on the other side of the power plant. 
Because of the warm water constantly being sent back into the lake, this lake never freezes in the winter.

Some of the lake water is purified and used to create the steam.

That's all I have for our Power Plant tour............any questions??
HaHa, I sure hope not because I won't be able to answer them! (But you can ask anyway and I can ask Tim)

After our tour, the Family Day at the power plant was winding down. I enjoyed the day, and it was really nice to finally be able to see where my husband works!