Saturday, May 28, 2016

Help - My Bathroom Sink is Leaking!!!

Leaky Faucet!
Regular readers of this blog know that I've dealt with a LOT of leaky faucets.  Too many leaky faucets!  Those adventures are detailed here.  When our bathroom sink began to leak I knew immediately that I would need to replace the cartridge.  If the fixture was ugly, broken or otherwise unpleasing I would have replaced the entire fixture.  That would have solved the problem.  A new fixture is about $80.  A new cartridge is $11, so the choice, for me, was clear!

Step #1 - Find the make and model number.

Finding the make and model number sounds easy enough, but it's not.  You see faucet makers don't print the model number on this product.  The model number is typically printed on the box, but since this faucet came with the house, I don't have the box.

Lightly embossed on the front of the faucet are the words "American Standard".

Identification Picture #1

Identification Picture #2
  I took 2 pictures of the faucet and called American Standard Customer Service.  (A quick google search lead me to their number).

The nice lady at American Standard took one look at my pictures and said "oh, that's a #2904".  She is, apparently, a faucet savant!  Replacement cartridges, she informed me, are $25/each.


Honestly speaking, I've never paid for a replacement cartridge in my life!  Before now they were always covered under the warranty.  My kitchen faucets came with a lifetime warranty.  The warranty on this faucet is only extended to the original purchaser with a receipt.  That's not me, so i'd need to pay.

Step #3 - Shop around for the best price!

American Standard customer service gave me the part number for the new cartridge.  After a few minutes of shopping around I found that a company called had the best price ($11/each).  Since I wasn't sure which faucet was leaking, the hot or the cold, I bought 2 cartridges.  Turns out both were leaking, so it's a good thing I bought both!

Plumbing parts people
It took about 2 days for the parts to arrive, which is about what I expected.

Now, the repair!!

For this job I needed a wrench, flat head screw driver and a pair of pliers. 

Tools for the job
The wrench is probably optional for people with strong hands.  I needed it to loosen the cartridges.

The cartridges arrived with no instructions, thank goodness I already knew what to do!


Remove the cap.
Remove the cap that covers the screw on the handle.
Cap removed
My handle is held in place with a flat head screw.  Remove the handle screw.

Remove the handle screw

Handle Screw Removed
Put the cap and screw in a safe place (like a cup or bowl).

Keep small parts safe!!
Putting the small parts in a safe place has saved my sanity on MANY jobs!  The last thing you want is for something to go missing!

Lift off the faucet handle
Lift off the faucet handle and add it to the "safe place" bowl

Add the handles to the "safe place" bowl.
Now you're ready to remove the cartridge.

Take a top view picture of the cartridge BEFORE you remove it.  This step will be important later.

Say Cheese Cartridge!
I used a wrench to loosen the cartridge.  

Loosen the cartridge
Once it was loose I was able to remove it by hand.

Remove the old cartridge 
I like to compare the old parts with the new parts so that I can understand what wore out.

Old Vs. New

Old vs. New
My new cartridge came with a plastic casing around the bottom that needed to be removed.

Screw in the new cartridge

Take a look at the picture you took of the old cartridge to be sure that the newly installed piece looks the same as the old piece.  Hand tighten the cartridge, then use pliers to tighten in 1/2 a turn.

Movable piece

There is a small movable piece on the top of the cartridge.  The location of this piece determines the position of the faucet handles when the water is turned on or off.

The picture that I took earlier was to see the location of this piece.  The old piece was installed at the 11 o'clock position.  If I install the new piece so that this notch is in the 11 o'clock position I know that my handles will be straight.

I tired over and over again, but could not get the cold cartridge back in the right position.  I decided to deal with it later.  The good news is that the sink no longer leaks!  YAY!!!!

The bad news is that my ice maker stopped making ice this morning!  UGH!  Thank goodness I know how to fix it!

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Refashion: Learning To Refashion - Lesson #2

Dress ReFashion

From time to time I teach sewing classes in my home.  All of my students are really wonderful, but one is progressing very quickly!  Here's the link to Ayana's first refashioned dress.  She did a wonderful job.  Today she came to my house to make a second dress.

Ayana wanted to make a refashioned dress, so she stopped by ReFashioner's paradise: Goodwill.  This dress is made from a sequined top and a twin size, jersey knit sheet.

We folded the sheet in half twice, then folded down one corner.

At the longest point, we cut the sheet into a circle.

At the point of the sheet, we cut the waistline.

Now, time to work on the top.

Ayana tried on the top and placed a straight pin where she wanted to cut

We folded the top in half and cut just below the pin.

With the right sides together, we sewed the shirt to the top.

Ayana did a beautiful job!!!

Click here for more tips and tricks from making a circle skirt or dress from a sheet.

For more ReFashion projects, click HERE!

Friday, May 20, 2016

Cooking - Homemade Sorbet - Easy, Vegan, Dairy-free

Easy Homemade Sorbet
I've been making this sorbet for years. So long, in fact, that I thought that I had already made a blog post about it.  Turns out I hadn't.  I will correct this grievous error now!

EASY Fruit Sorbet 
For this recipe you will need:
2 cups frozen fruit
1/4 cup sweetener (sugar, agave, honey)
1 egg white (optional)

Food processor
spoon or rubber

Add the fruit, sweetener and egg white to the bowl of the food processor.  Pulse until it looks like sorbet (about 10- 15 minutes).  You'll need to periodically stop the food processor and scrape the fruit back towards the blades.

Freeze the leftovers (if you have any-we rarely do).

A word about the egg white:  Adding an egg white to this recipe makes for a creamier, fluffier and lighter colored finished product.  It has no effect on the taste.  If you prefer a vegan version you can leave the egg white out.

I buy bagged frozen fruit from BJ's Wholesale
Add fruit to processor bowl

Add sweetener

Pulse to break up fruit

Scrape the sides of the bowl

Pulse and scrape again

Pulse and scrape again

Sorbet WITHOUT egg white

Sorbet WITH egg white
Store leftovers in an airtight container
Promptly freeze leftovers
1.  To make the process faster, allow the frozen fruit to sit at room temperature for 5-10 minutes before starting this process

2.  Buy fresh fruit in season at the farmers market and freeze it to make sorbet later.

3.  For best texture, choose fruit without a lot of seeds.  I prefer pineapple, mango and strawberries.

Use leftover sorbet to thicken smoothies!  YUM!  

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Experiments in Vegan Cooking

Veggie Sandwich

I've been experimenting with vegan cooking.  My dh (darling husband) is a vegetarian and I cook veggie meals everyday.  From time to time I experiment with simple vegan dishes.  This week i'm home from work on vacation so i've been trying new things.

For this sandwich I oven roasted the veggies with olive oil, salt and pepper.

I grilled italian bread in a pan with a tiny bit of coconut oil.  Fresh guacamole was on one side of the bread and homemade raspberry vinegerette was on the other side of the bread.

True Confession:  The next time I made this sandwich I added grilled steak.  That was good too!

Spicy Roasted Carrots and Rice
 One morning for breakfast I peeled and roasted 4 carrots and 1/2 an onion.  The veggies are roasted with olive oil, salt, pepper and crushed red pepper flake.

The rice is medium grain rice cooked with salt and pepper in the microwave.  YUM!

Chef's Note:  I prefer medium grain rice because it's soft whether you serve it hot, warm or cold.  Long grain rice gets very hard once it cools.

Tropical Fruit Sorbet

For dessert I made tropical fruit sorbet.  The recipe for that is posted here! 

Sunday, May 8, 2016

ReFashion: Rit Dyeing for a Pink Dress

This is NOT a sponsored post.  If the Rit people want to give me free dye, i'm happy to accept it!!
Color Transformation
This dress comes with a bit of backstory.  It's actually a double ReFashion.  Before this dress was a dress the skirt was a white bed sheet from Goodwill.  The bodice was a white duvet from Goodwill.  I used the sheet to make a circle skirt (tutorial here).  I sewed the circle skirt to a simple tube top that I made from an old white duvet.
Deep Pink Dye
Before I made this dress I knew the color that I wanted it to be.  I wasn't entirely sure how I would create a deep dark pink, so I pretty much made up this process as I went along.  Turns out, 1 bottle of liquid fuchsia and 1/2 a box of scarlet did the trick!!

1/2 a package of scarlet & hot water
I combined 1/2 the package of scarlet dye powder with very hot tap water.  Once the powder was fully dissolved, I added the bottle of fuchsia.

Test Strips
I pinned several strips of the fabric used to make the dress together.  These strips would be dyed with the dress.  I set my washed to small load, hot wash and let if fill.  I added 1 cup of salt to the washer (this is supposed to help the dyeing process) then I added the dress.  Once the dress was thoroughly soaked, I (nervously) added the dye to the washer.

Adding dye to the washer
Once the dye was added I let the washer run for about 5 minutes.  That allowed the dye to thoroughly mix with the water and soak the dress.  Once the dress was soaked with dye, I opened the washer to make it stop.

Dress and dye in the washing machine 
To make sure that the dress was evenly dyed, I fully submerged it in the water.  I used a long pole to gently press the dress under the water until the fabric was no longer visible at the surface of the water.
No fabric visible 
I allowed the dress to soak in the dye for about 2 hours.  After 2 hours, I fished the test strips out of the washer, removed one of the pieces of fabric and returned the remaining 4 strips (pinned together) to the washer.

When I removed the test strips I made sure that the dress was fully resubmerged in the dye.

Re submerge the dress in dye when working with the test strip
Wash and rinse the test strip in the stink.

Wash the test strip with soap and water 

Be sure to DRY the test strip
Dry the test strip!  Wet fabric is darker than dry fabric, so the strip needs to be dry to get a true sense of the color.

The test strip look very dark to me, but I decided to wait a few hours and compare it to the next strip.  I allowed the dress to soak for another 2 hours and then I removed another strip.  I numbered each dry strip so that I could compare them.

Numbered test strips
Test strip #2, seemed much darker to me and that made me happy.  After another few hours I pulled out test strip #3.  It was basically the same color as test strip 2.  That lead me to believe that the dress would not get any darker.  I closed the washer and allowed the wash cycle to continue.

I allowed the washer to spin the dye out of the dress, but I removed the dress from the washer before the final rinse.  I wanted to make sure that the dress stayed as dark as possible so I skipped the final rinse cycle.

To clean the washer, I ran it through a regular wash cycle with a little detergent and bleach (no clothes inside).
Freshly dyed!
I hung the dress to dry and didn't wash rinse it for 2 weeks.  Before I rinsed the dress, I pressed it and wore it for a family photo shoot. 
My husband and I (Photo Credit: Janet Joyner Photography, Teaneck, NJ)
This is just a photo proof.  I'll post a better shot when the photos arrive.

Pink dress in action (Photo credit: Janet Joyner, Teaneck, NJ)
Deep Pink Perfection!!!!

All things considered, I think this dress turned out GREAT!  I'm wearing it to a pretty in pink brunch next week.  Nobody will ever know that it used to be a white bedsheet!!!