30 April 2015

Master Bathroom Remodel

At the end of March we started the process of getting our master bathroom remodeled. The contractor told us it would take about two weeks. We mistakenly thought he meant two consecutive weeks--what he actually meant was, working for two days the first week, one day the next week, two half- days the next week, and so on like that. So it really took about seven weeks from the start of the project to it's completion.
The good news is that the contractor did a good job, and we're pleased with the results. Below are the "Before" pictures. I wish we'd taken the pictures when the decorations were still on the walls, but we didn't think to take the pictures until the room was mostly cleared out and ready for demolition.
The shower was a plastic insert, and to top it off, had the shiny brass accents. We felt it looked very late 1990's, which is when the house was built.
The corner tub was not a jacuzzi tub or anything fancy, and it was rarely used.
Here are a couple of pictures of the bathroom when it was a work in progress.
There had been leaking under the tub we weren't aware of, and the wood underneath was rotted out and needed to be replaced.
We put gray tile on the floor.
Here's a view of the larger space for the shower.
The toilet didn't change locations. Notice the larger floor boards and crown molding.
Voila! The finished product. The sinks are now side by side instead of on opposite walls.
We bought cabinets to store towels and toiletries.
The shower is more than twice the size of the one we had previously.
We love the small tile detailing through out the bathroom. Here's a view inside the shower.
The detail around the tub.
And placed randomly on the floor.
 We're very pleased with our remodeled bathroom!

21 April 2015

Springtime in Virginia and DC

Wow, after looking through pictures of all the things we did this spring, I can honestly say we welcomed it thoroughly!  
We started off with a green party on the first day of spring.
For the past couple of years Kent has bought the 99 cent pots of mini-daffodils, which I think are actually called narcissus. Whatever they're called, it's a cheerful sign of spring to have in our kitchen window.
This year we went to see the cherry blossom trees in DC after I flew home from Montana. My flight arrived at 2pm and it was a lovely day spring day, so Kent left work early and we walked to the tidal basin near the Martin Luther King Memorial.
The pictures don't show it, but there were LOTS of people out doing the same thing we were.
 I'm so glad we saw the cherry blossoms when we did because the next day was rainy and windy, and probably knocked most of the blossoms off the trees.
A few days later I toured the home where Abraham Lincoln died, which is across the street from Ford's Theater. It was the 150th anniversary of his death on April 15, 1865.
At the visitor's center I saw a cool exhibit of actual artifacts from the night Lincoln was shot at Ford's Theater. I went by myself, so I don't have any pictures of me. I haven't learned how to take a good "selfie" yet.
The next weekend Kent and I drove to the Shenandoah Mountains. On the way there we stopped at the studio of the artist, P. Buckley Moss. She was having an open house and was signing her art work. I'd bought two posters of Virginia that I had her sign.
 Here's a classic example of her work. I've known about her and recognized her work for many years, but didn't know she lived in Virginia.
 After visiting her studio, we drove along the Blue Ridge Parkway for about an hour.
Unfortunately, it started to rain and was cloudy and misty, so the views from the scenic overlooks weren't very good.
The last week of April was Historic Virginia Garden Week, when historic homes all throughout Virginia are open for touring. The Garden Club of Virginia sponsors the event, so there are lovely flower arrangements made from local flowers in each home.

I went to see three historic plantations and a church along the James River, south of Williamsburg, with two friends. We had such a good time touring the lovely old homes, most of which had connections to the early settling of America and the Civil War. You can see from the pictures that it was a beautiful day.
 The Shirley Plantation claims to have the longest running business in America, established in the early 1600's and continuing through today. It's a residence, not a museum.
 Another plantation was the home of the Benjamin Harrison who signed the Declaration of Independence.

 It also claimed to be the site of the first Thanksgiving, because it was on this property that some settlers from England came ashore in December 1619 and gave thanks for their safe voyage.
 Here's an example of some of the flower arrangements. Usually it wasn't allowed to take pictures inside the homes, but the owner was giving the tour in this home and gave me permission.
 A few days later Kent and I toured four historic homes in a different part of Virginia, called the Middle Penninsula.
The lines were much longer (probably because it was a Friday, not a Monday), so we wasted lots of time standing in lines. The home below is one of the only saltbox style homes built in Virginia. Most of them are found in the Northeast.
 Loved the flower arrangement on the front porch.
After touring the homes we ended up in Norfolk, Virginia, to attend the International Tattoo. We went with our friends, Dave and Tresha Andrews, and their son, Jared.
 It's the largest Tattoo (performances by military bands) held in the USA.
 I loved the opening, when some high school JROTC students unfurled a huge American flag.
 The program was great, with military bands from France, Scotland, Denmark and South Korea. The South Koreans had the most colorful costumes.
 As we were leaving I saw these two performers and asked to take their picture, but instead they had me get in the photo with them.
We are still working at the temple every other Friday evening (when we're in town) and the first Friday in May we saw all the tulips in bloom.
 We were running late and didn't have time to stop and get the tripod to take a picture with us in it,
 but we knew the tulips would be faded in two weeks time when we went again.
On the day before Kent's birthday we went on a volksmarch that started at the Marine Corps Museum, and led through the grounds of the museum to a state park that borders it.
 We saw this sign as we walked along the path. Always so much history to learn about in Virginia!
 There were many monuments and statues dedicated to different Marines and groups of Marines along the path we walked. It was very interesting.
After the volksmarch we went to the US National Arboretum to see the azaleas in bloom. We try to do that every year.
 We'd never been on a Saturday before and there were many more people than when we've gone on a week night after Kent is off work.
 This shot was to show some of the different colors of azaleas.
 About half of the azalea park was blocked off because a bald eagle had built it's nest in a tree in that area. There was a telescope set up to look at it the nest, which I could see, but didn't see any eagles.

 The old columns from the capitol building is one of the photo ops in the park. Too bad the azaleas were in the area in front of us instead of behind us.
 That evening we had Kent's birthday cake and celebrated the 20th anniversary of his 39th birthday!
Whew! Could we have possibly fit any more cool and exciting things into six weeks???