Friday, October 1, 2010

TX/OU Weekend

This weekend is the Red River shoot out here in Big D.  The Cottonbowl stadium seats 92,100 people.  Yes, ninety-two THOUSAND.  And it's always over full.  But if you are not attending the football game, then as a local, your game for the weekend becomes traffic-avoidance.  I have a hefty do-at-home list for this weekend to help me avoid all those folks who don't know their way around old East Dallas.  I won't accomplish all of them, but nothing gets done without a list.  Accordingly:

(1)  Patch drywall around kitchen remodel trim.
(2)  Enlarge opening for telephone jack in kitchen.
(3)  Harvest basil and make/freeze pesto (YUM!)
(4)  Once and for all, attach HVAC vents along baseboards. 
(5)  Plant fall garden.
(6)  Bundle kindling.
(7)  Replace screws in door jamb with longer ones
(8)  Replace weather stripping around front and back doors.

I have all of the necessary items for all of these (except seeds) so I shouldn't have to encounter any humanity on the roads to get them done.  So no excuses, right?  Hole up in the house and tackle the list!

Sunday morning from 10-3 I do have to be out; I am staffing the Habitat for Humanity booth at the State Fair.  My rationale is that the majority of people from the game the day before will still be in bed when my shift begins, and they will still be at home when I skedaddle out at 3.  Time will tell if I am right!

Be Small

Lately I've been reading a lot of back entries on the Tiny House Blog ( and following a lot of the links therein.  Very interesting articles.  Initially I went search of creative use of space ideas; storage, double-use items (function/storage) and things like that.  I was once again inspired by the lack of material things of these homeowners.  It's true -- how much "stuff" do we really need, and why do we have so much of it?  I am not a knick-knack type of person; it's a pretty fair statement that most items in my house have a function past decor.  (Mostly I loathe dusting.)  I prefer an open, airy feel, free from clutter.

My house is comparatively small (1,148 sq. feet.)  However, after reading about 100 square foot houses and watching video tours of them (the shortest home tours ever -- LOL) my place feels like a palace!  Interesting how one's perspective can change so easily.  Have you noticed the trend lately for smaller living?  I have, and I love it!

All of that to say, I've been on big de-clutter tear.  I went through two entire chests of drawers that had repeatedly been displaced from room to room as I re-decorated.   As I sorted through items I asked myself these questions:

(1)  Do I just love this item?
(2)  Have I used it recently?
(3)  Is it likely that someone else would appreciate it more than me?

I made a pile for Goodwill, a bag for trash, and a pile of things to be redistributed to their proper place in the house.  I was pleased to realize that these items had taken up 10 drawers mostly due to disorganization.  The trash pile was mostly broken hair clips and scraps of paper.  The Goodwill pile was small, too.  I have gone through this process more than once already since moving into the house, so mostly I was streamlined.  (But clearly very disorganized.)  As I heard someone else who lived in a small house with tiny closets remark recently, "When you live in  small space, and you re-organize, it's the domino effect from closet to closet."  Agreed!  My craft closet and my tool shed will both require a round of reorganization.  And I suspect that as a result of that, my Goodwill and my trash piles will begin again!  It never ending it seems.

So the empty chests of drawers:  I was going to just get rid of them, but then I thought if I ever do make the attic into living space they might be nice to have up there.  (Is this a remnant of not letting go?)   I bought them both at Goodwill for about $20, back in 2003.  I painted them, and put new pulls on them -- voila'!    (Yeah, so the knobs cost more than the cabinet...)  They have served me well, but they are sort of like dorm furniture... 

Anyway, I am so pleased with the reclaimed space, and the reduction of THINGS.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Shop Drawings have arrived!

On Friday I received the first draft of the shop drawings for my back steps from the steel fabricator!  On Sunday I met with my neighbor/architect to review the drawings for necessary changes:  Not too many.  The fabricator needed from me the height for the rain barrel supports... and I need to know exactly where the seven concrete footings need to go... and then we had a couple of changes of angle iron to conceal the ends of a few boards. 

The next task is for me to make a final decision on step material.  I need approximately 100 linear feet of lumber, in a 1" x 6" size.  I've narrowed down my choices to the following:

1)  Trex - a composite man-made material.  It's eco-friendly and basically lasts forever.  I need to determine what colors it comes in, because I cannot stain it to match other woodwork.  Another plus is that it would be splinter free on bare feet.  (Coming from the girl who hates shoes!)

2)  Ipe - this is a Brazilian hardwood.  It's amazing!  It's so hard and smooth that when I held the sample in my hands I thought it was composite!  I found a local supplier here in Dallas who does sustainable harvest.  It's naturally a very dark brown color.

3)  Cedar - this is the time tested outdoor lumber.  It lasts a long time under all types of weather conditions.  Home Depot doesn't carry it, but Lowe's does.  It's also readily available at area lumber companies.  It does seem soft to me, although it is known to be durable.  And it readily takes stain.

4)  Oak - Obviously a very hard wood, easy to stain, likely expensive -- although I have not confirmed that. 

Today -- and I say "today" because I've been very wishy-washy on this subject -- Trex and Ipe are in the lead.  I plan a trip to a local lumber company or two this week for a hands on data collecting trip.  One of the lumber companies touts on their website that they have a large selection of exotic hardwoods.  They listed them and of course I'd never heard of any of them.  So those will be fun to explore.

The next decision is powder coating color.  I am nearly positive that I'd like the whole thing to be a copper color to match my gutters.  I have a 12" square sample piece from the gutter company that I could give to the steel fabricator to match.  (So glad I asked for a sample during gutter installation!)  I need to confirm that there isn't a set palette of colors that I must choose from.

And then comes the pouring of the concrete forms!  According to the drawings I will need to pour 7 forms that are 12" square, and insert in the tops of them the little steel footing that James will provide to me.  I was pleased to learn that they would be 12" square -- a large target area for installation -- versus a 6" round with a spike coming out of the middle would have to match exactly!  Whew.  I feel confident we can make that happen.  My architect has been pushing for me to contract out that work, but I think it is manageable.  I need a consult with Red to confirm.

We also discussed the bench (lowered it) and the placement of spikes to slide garden shoes over and hooks for various things.  My hope is that James will let me come out to the shop when the two pieces are nearly complete, and walk around it and say, "Oh, could I have a hook there?  Could you add 3 sets of 2 spikes for shoes here?" and so on.  I understand that it's important to get those items attached before powder coating so that the paint job is totally sealed against rust.  Makes sense, but who knew?  Well now I do.  (As I've said before, I had no idea how complicated the process would be!  I'm learning a lot -- awesome!)

Anyway... onward and upward.  I'm excited to be moving forward on this project!  My mind's eye deadline to have it done is Christmas.  We'll see if that happens!