From polished to honed…

I have a marble-topped coffee table. It came to me a year or so ago with water-rings etched into its polished surface. I did the DIY thing, and ordered the stuff to polish the marble. It wasn’t easy but it mostly worked and I was happy. Then, over the holidays, I spilled a whiskey-honey-lemon juice concoction* on it. Deep sigh. It left a big, white mark.

I’ve come to realize that we are too hard on polished marble so why not just embrace the un-polished/honed look. Since water appears to cause most rings, I decided to soak the marble top with water. I applied very wet towels let them sit for several hours.

Water did not make the polished finish go away. I thought that perhaps it was the whiskey that had taken off the polish so I decided to try vodka (my husband’s whiskey is too expensive to pour on the table).

After a few hours it was obvious that vodka wasn’t working either so I decided to consult google. It turns out that acidic liquids are the main culprit when it comes to ‘etching’ the polish off of marble. Vinegar was mentioned and I have a gallon of it. Yay! I soaked paper towels with vinegar and left it to sit.

Later I took off the paper towels and just poured on more vinegar. Yes, vinegar will take most of the polish off of a marble surface!

The surface is a little blotchy which only shows in some light, from the side. I sanded the top with fine grain sandpaper. It knocked back some of the shinier areas and I like the feel of it but I decided to once again consult google. I found out that you can, indeed, use fine wet/dry sandpaper and an orbital sander to get an even better honed surface.

I have an orbital sander but don’t want to use it in the house—too much dust. When Steve comes home he can help me take the marble to the garage and I’m going to sand it like crazy and then seal it. If any of you have scarred marble that’s bothering you, I offer this as one possible solution.

*The whiskey-honey-lemon juice concoction is what we refer to as ‘granny’s elixir’ and it is my favorite cold remedy. It doesn’t make the cold go away faster, but it does help you to feel better.

Happy New Year!

I hope your new year is off to a dandy start. Mine has been good so far. I’m not walking as fast as usual, and I’m still in the boot, but otherwise my foot feels better than it did before surgery and I’m moving around normally. I’m even back to standing at my desk!

Steve is in Hawaii now, teaching Natural History of the Hawaiian Islands with Keith Kisselle, his colleague. I’m on my own for 3.5 weeks and since he left I have been overcome with the urge to tidy.

On Saturday Chris came over and helped me rearrange my studio. I moved my computer to the other side of the room so that I can look outside when I work. That meant stringing ethernet cable through the attic and down the wall. It took about 4 hours, but it’s done and I wish I had done this years ago. I ended up spending another many hours trying to connect my wireless printer to the computer. It never did so I got a faster, newer one that works better. (Printers are actually cheap—it’s the toner that’s expensive.)

Yesterday I tackled some shelves in the garage that have bothered me for months. If I never saw them I could have ignored them, but I walk past them numerous times every day. It may not look that tidy to you, but it’s so much better than before!


I didn’t waste a lot of time dusting the shelves off because, why? They’ll be dusty again in a few days.


I was all done and congratulating myself on a job well done when the garage door decided not to work. What happened was that one of the sensors was out of alignment. It’s had a problem ever since I hit it with the car months ago. I’ve had to tweak its position in the past but this time that didn’t work. So I had to take the thing apart, re-bend the metal bracket, and wire it in place on the back side of the bracket. It works!


What I’m really doing is practicing work avoidance. I should be doing so many other things but I can’t seem to concentrate on anything until I feel like my space is in order. I’ve about run out of projects so perhaps the work will commence this afternoon :-).

Shaking hands with a shovel…

Bruce Taylor’s guys put in our drip irrigation system last week. These brown drip hoses are perfect, but don’t look that great laying on top of the ground. 


The last time we spread mulch was 2 years ago and it has decomposed. It was time to mulch again. 
We’re lucky that there are big mulch piles that we can use but it is real work to get the mulch from those piles to our yard. It requires shoveling mulch into bins and buckets, driving it home, and hefting it into place.  

Steve and I both shoveled. He did the heaviest bin-lifting into the pickup. But I did my fair share of lifting and I was thankful for all those Pilates classes :-). 

We started at 7:30am and quit at 3:15pm with a 30 minute lunch break. We are fried but the yard looks great!

The mulch pile is much diminished…


We celebrated with home-made hot fudge sundaes!

On home ownership, part 1…

I love our house. That said, I don’t love it when things that are not fun have to fixed. Take, for example, the front spigot. Saturday I turned it too far to the left and that was it. Something inside came un-done and there was no way to ‘turn’ the water off. If I pushed the knob all the way in, then the water turned off. But it wouldn’t stay there on its own.

It being Saturday, we didn’t want to call a plumber. Steve did not want to try to fix it himself because sometimes pipes break in the wall. I wasn’t keen on that either so I wired it shut. Steve was working on other things and was happy not to get involved in this. He really does not like plumbing jobs.

The plumbers came today and were impressed with my fix. They also said, after taking the knob and guts out of the spigot, that this was not something they’d seen before. We had a unique plumbing issue! The spigot would have to be replaced. I was not surprised.

As it turned out, the old spigot unscrewed easily. We could have done it ourselves, but you can’t tell by looking. The plumbers had fixed one yesterday where the pipe broke in the wall.

The replacement is actually better. It is mostly copper, and it fits against the wall better. I still need to shoot some insulation foam into the gap, but it’s fixed! And it was less that $175! Which is good because part 2 starts soon. The sprinkler system has developed breaks. More on that tomorrow…