Wednesday, December 28, 2011

The Bedroom Wall Revealed

I probably should space out my posts over the week -- this is my third post today -- but no, you get the Monday* blast of posts...

I finally took an afternoon and devoted it to my bedroom wall/trim project yesterday.  I made a ton of progress and I am just thrilled with the project over all. 

Here's what the wall looked like when I left off last time.  I had just started pulling down sheet rock to reveal the wood behind it:

In case you've lost track of how I got here, the posts leading up to this project are here:

And in assembling those links for you, I'm more than a little horrified that I started this project in JULY and it still isn't completed.  No wonder I'm weary of the lumber on the floor of my bedroom...
So yesterday afternoon I embarked on the project once again.  Fortified with motivation from having watched 2 episodes of This Old House (the Boston project) the day before, and having cleaned my house earlier in the day -- so that when I was "done" with the project I could be entirely done for the day and relax in a clean house -- work got underway.  This time not only did I cover my chandeliers with plastic tarps, but I also tarped my two mirrored nightstands, the bed, the one open rod of coats and jackets, and I put down a serious canvas drop cloth on the floor.  Oh -- and I tied a bandanna over my nose and mouth.  Sounds better prepared than last time, no?  What I didn't do?  Wear safety glasses, gloves or shoes.  Yes, I did this in my socks.  I know.  Sort of stupid.  But nothing bad happened. 
The sheet rock again came done frighteningly easily.  In many places it was bowed out from the wall and pieces 2 or 3 feet wide would peel back in one big piece.  After about an hour I had the top half of the wall completed (and I had confirmed that I really enjoy demolition just a little too much).
That flap hanging down is the linen fabric.  I read that often that was applied before wallpaper went up. There was indeed a layer of paper after the fabric, before the sheet rock, but I don't know if it was actually wallpaper or just a paper backing on the old sheet rock.  It was sort of a maroon/coral color with a matte finish.  I wish I had taken a photo of it, but I probably still can, from in the trash bag.  Note to self...
I made one error of letting my trash bag get too full.  It was so heavy that I nearly couldn't carry it out of the house!  Proof that I am trainable, however, I filled the next three bags less full...
Next I removed the row of glass hooks,  (which I love love love) and the switch plates, and pulled down the bottom half:
I stood here a long time, admiring it all. 
Then, excited about the progress, I emailed a couple of photos to Red, who was (probably glad to be) at work.
Then I started to examine what remained.  The most prevalent thing are all the threads that remain stuck behind nail heads.  They are from the linen "vapor barrier" that was the last layer to come off:

I suspect I have many hours of work with needle nosed pliers ahead of me... Not sure how else to get those off.  Pulling the nails out entirely would (a) surely mar the wood, which at this point is pretty pristine; and (b) probably make all the wood fall off the walls.  Yeah, not a goal.

When I took the first part of the sheet rock down in the area over the door, I found a huge crack, and open gaps between the boards. (Which in this photo doesn't look huge at all.  Weird.)

The crack I figure I will fill with something, but the gaps between the boards were really causing me to troubleshoot.  What would I fill them with?  I did some research on chinking... but never really came up with any great ideas.  But as I revealed the rest of the wall, I found that there were not gaps between the boards.  There is another layer of wood back there, so there aren't any gaps.

That was probably the most exciting find of the day. There is one length of a gap -- around 5 inches long:

But that is pretty minor.  And that vertical stripe on the left of the photo - I think it's an adhesive from the edge of the sheet rock, and the new door trim should cover that up.

Other minor trouble areas:

A big knot hole to the left of the switch plate;
it's likely that the door trim will cover most of it...
The vent opening is cut too large (or, it's cut the appropriate size for
the vent coming up from crawlspace, but the metal vent cover is too small...)
And then there is the baseboard issue.  If you've been on the blog from the beginning, you might recall that I replaced all the baseboards when I moved in.  And in that process, we discovered that the sheet rock didn't extend all the way to the floor, and that there wasn't anything to nail the baseboards too. 

You can read about that fun in these two previous posts:

So sheet rock was added, and the baseboards installed.  Do you see where this is going?  That very same sheet rock we put in, now has to come back out, and I'll be back to the dilemma of how to attach the baseboards.  I purposely cut around the baseboards yesterday, leaving the sheet rock behind them, and the baseboards in place, because I presume that will be a whole day (weekend?) project in itself, and I really didn't want my bedroom essentially open to my crawlspace for a few days.  I've been fortunate so far with nothing skittering out as I open walls, but you know... I mean... no reason to temp any little critters right?  It is chilly outside now... La la la la la.
Here is a current front and top view of the baseboards:  

And then there is the issue of how to cleanly finish where this wall meets the ceiling sheet rock, and where it meets the two adjoining walls.  Perhaps crown moulding for the ceiling... and quarter round or wood trim for the sides like Red did for the cedar planks in the living room?  Or, maybe there is a way to get a clean edge on the sheet rock from the adjoining walls?  I don't know.
Another fun thing I found was on a few boards some sap had oozed out back in the day.  And today it looks glittery. I took a photo of it, but I don't think you can see it's glittery goodness:
My next steps will be clean up and finishing of the wood.  In some areas its just dusty, so I think a good brushing with a nylon bristled brush is in order.  And there are a handful of areas with this gray stuff on it that sort of feels like plaster or something:

I think it will sand off easily -- and hopefully I can do that in a fashion that won't drastically change the surrounding wood color.

The wood of course is tinder dry (I shall not think about house fires, no I will not) and I am thinking that maybe I should oil it?  I've read about linseed oil and tung oil -- but not enough about either one to know if they are good choices.  I am definitely not painting the wall, and I'm not enthusiastic about chemical laden varnish or a polyurethane... so I am sort of up in the air there.  If you have any ideas... please, share.

Also in the category of "if you know," is this type of wood paneling called anything?  From what I've read online, it's very common in 1920 houses.  I believe I have ruled out "ship lap" (it doesn't overlap itself) and I believe it's too wide and thick to be categorized as "lath."  And it isn't tongue and groove.  So far it just seems to be called "horizontal planks."  And some planks they are -- !  The entire length of the wall is one crazy long plank.  I've never seen boards that long in my life!  And they are really wide; it must have been one mammoth tree is all I can say...

And this weekend I will do final measuring for my new door trim and door frame!  And I'll get those stained, sealed, sanded, sealed, and hopefully installed.  Visually that is really going to to change the room (and I think we can all agree -- it's about time!)  I'll be saving for my barn door hardware now, for my sliding barn door.  Yeehaw.

At the end of the day I put the switch plates back on, and the row of hooks (partially) back up, and it looked like this:

I'm very happy.  And quite motivated for the next phase...  Stay tuned.

*  I know, today is Wednesday, not Monday.  But it's Monday to me, because I had Monday and Tuesday off.

Hardy Calendula

I have a little bit of happy in my front butterfly Calendula.  This Summer, first the seeds didn't come up at all and then when they did the little plants were so feeble and just struggled.  Now?  Positively thriving. 

I have two blossoms open, and one or two more buds getting ready to open.  Who'd a thunk?  It's a beautiful bit of fresh color in an otherwise brown time of year.  Happy.

Kitchen Sink Follow Up

I'm happy to report the pipes under my kitchen remain leak free... whew! I'll admit to cringing every time I ran the water for the first few days, and then I'd shut it off and tentatively peer under the sink for water where it shouldn't be. A fear unfounded.

And, I asked Red to remove the hand sprayer. The hose from it always got hung up on the pipe down below -- ending up in me either yanking until it wriggled free or opening the cabinet and holding the sprayer with one hand and reaching below and freeing the hose with the other. (Red was horrified when I told him I'd often yank on the sprayer. In his words, "We may have identified the problem..." And, in retrospect, had I actually thought about what danger I was toying with I never would have done that...) At any rate, we do not need the pipes to be bumped or jostled with a sprayer hose, and we couldn't figure out a way to prevent it from happening that was worth the trouble.

Also, because the sprayer was right next to the faucet handle, invariably the sprayer hose would turn off the water on the way over to the left hand sink. Not convenient. In fact, both of those situations were way more frustrating than you'd think. (Maybe because I was already performing a less than enjoyable activity -- washing dishes?)

My solution was to buy one of those doodads (plumbing technical term) that switches your faucet to a sprayer or a stream and jettisoned the sprayer. Ahhhhh. I like it. It's the little things in life...  It's a cleaner look for starters, and there is no frustration involved. Don't look to closely at what I presume to be the original 1929 sink. The porcelain simply doesn't come clean anymore.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Exhilarating! (or so I kept telling myself)

That's what most of my date night looked like last night. 

And walking into the kitchen this morning to make coffee was akin to returning to the scene of a crime.

But -- now, under my sink it looks like this:

Look at all those new, clean, sealed, pretty white PVC pipes!  That don't ask water to defy gravity!! The clouds parted and the angels sang -- the second time we turned the water on to test it...

The first time, not so much.  And by "not so much" I mean, a different pipe gushed more than the pipe with the original problem we were fixing.  Me?  I wouldn't even turn the water on to test it -- I was enjoying the briefest moment of ignorance and bliss, admiring Red's work and believing that all was well.  So he was the brave one who turned it on while I watched the pipes.  "Okay...  OH!  Turn it off!" 

That turned into a trip to a 9 p.m. run to Home Depot  Lowe's WalMart, because that is who is open at 9:15 on a week night who sells plumbing parts.  As we headed out the door I pronounced that it was sort of "exciting" to be going to Home Depot so late at night -- an adventure! I said.  Until we realized that both Home Depot and Lowe's were already closed for the night.  That's when we realized we were heading to WalMart.  Three days before Christmas.  Oh boy. 

In true WalMart style, we witnessed a cat fight by two grown women in the electronics department that had garnered an actual audience -- it was as though every shopper heard there was a show in the electronics department and mosied on over.  As far I could tell, nobody was making any effort to shut it down -- I mean these ladies were screaming.   Maybe it boosts sales... I don't know.  I dragged Red away before it escalated to hair pulling.  Which might have been as much fun as he would have all night long.  Sorry.  On the way home at a red light I exclaimed, "This is exhilarating, being out so late!  And Wal Mart!  Before Christmas!"  We both just laughed.  Ah, yes.  Exhilarating indeed.

And so for a grand total of 4 hours of Red's time while I sat on the floor nearby providing critical (I'm sure) moral support and critical (I know) gopher duties, I have a functioning kitchen sink again.  For probably about $50.  I'll say it again, "Thank you, Red!"  I didn't get to dance in the Home Depot aisles (because Red is such a boy scout that he went there and bought parts before he came to my house!) and between the plumbing and the required "wind down" afterwards, we only got about 4 hours of sleep, but I saved a tidy sum of money and I learned a thing or two about plumbing.  But I won't lie:  As he was tightening the fittings that adjoined the 81 year old pipes I couldn't even look.  Couldn't.  Even.  Look.  I tried really hard to keep admonishments such as "be careful!"  "Don't over tighten it -- please" to myself, but I know a few slipped out. 

So now, it's dry under there.  I know my p traps are clean (go ahead, raise your hands if you can say that!  And how many of you have TWO?  I do.)  And I learned that apparently my garbage disposal has enough horse power to qualify as a "beast" -- I'm told it has so much horsepower that I could drop (animal of COURSE, ahem) bones down it.  Perfect for a vegetarian who composts and recycles... ha ha 

Today when I am out and about I'm going to look at some laminate floor tiles or something to put down on the floor in that cabinet.  Something NEW.  Maybe even pretty.  And then I'll put things back unde the sink.  Red off handedly suggested that I pull up those boards, suggesting that I could replace them, or, depending on what is under them, just leave them out.  I just stared at him.  And then I said, "You know that if I rip those out I am going to just keep on going and that whole thing is going to come out, right?  Because I won't be able to stop -- it will be so satisfying to have it all just gone gone gone."  Er, right.  Don't take those boards out.  I'm sure they are fine...

This morning over coffee we day dreamed about casting our own concrete countertops, or industrial/commercial stainless steel tables for counters, and sinks in styles like this:

Or this:

Whatever it ends up being, whenever I get to do demolition, we'll be thinking outside the box.  Kitchen remodel day dreaming could be a zillion posts all on its own, and I can't go there now.  For now, I've vowed that if I get Monday off work that I am going to finish ripping the sheetrock off the wall in my bedroom and at long last get the new door trim that has been patiently waiting on the floor on a beach towel installed.  One project at a time, right?  We just aren't always in charge of the schedule...

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

The Cookie Gods are Laughing

I expect you are just as busy this week as I am -- last minute preparations for the holiday weekend and all that goes with it.   I have a lot to cram into this week like everyone else does, but admittedly I do my best work under a tight deadline.  I am a list maker (and a dish soaker, but that's another post) and I of course have a tidy list of what I plan to do each morning and night this week to knock out all the things that must happen.  A little less sleep, a build up of unwatched shows on my DVR and it's all going to get done.  Except...

So, night Monday night, in the torrential rains, I did what I'd hoped was my last grocery store run for the week/weekend.  (Don't be impressed; it turns out I missed some things and was going to go back last night...)  I had assembled various recipes -- mostly for cookies and bars -- (oh my gosh and this really divine looking chocolate salted caramel tart) and my well oiled machine of a schedule dictated that I would make the doughs last night, and bake tomorrow night for Friday night and weekend consumption.  And irrational as it sounds, I cleaned up the kitchen before I started the dough making.  You know, a clean slate to mess up.  My kitchen trash is under my kitchen sink, and I had the cabinet doors open as I tidied.  Some things went into compost; (a lime wedge from last night's beer) some things were going into the trash; and then dishes into the dishwasher.  I was humming along, wrapping things up, and I did a quick zip of my garbage disposal.  And my knees got wet.

A moment in time, that.  A moment of confusion.  I looked down into the sink.  Some mental gymnastics:  "Are my knees wet?  My knees feel wet."  And then, realization:  My knees are wet.   And my socks.  I back up and peered under the sink.  Oh yes, water.  Where water shouldn't be.  Not gushing, but definitely more than a drip.  JOY.

Out came the trash can, and the tray of scrubbies... and the gallon jug of vegetable wash... and then I saw it.  The gravity defying pipe had finally corroded enough that there was about a 3 inch horizontal jagged gash in it.  Honestly.  Really?  Christmas week?

I got a towel, mopped things up and assessed:  Was it still dripping?  Yes.  How "attached" is that pipe?  e.g. Is it a 7 foot pipe with 17 connections (obviously exaggerating)?  No, about a 15 inch pipe connecting two pipes.  Okay... seems somewhat manageable.  And then I did what I always do after I realize I have a problem on my hands that may be larger than I want to tackle alone:  I called Red.

I gave him the cheery, "Hi!   How are YOU?"  He knows better.  "Well I'm fine -- but what's going on there?"  Ahhhh.  I explain.  We decided we will try to replace it, and if we can't, I'll call a plumber.  He warily asked if this was something I wanted to do right away, or could it wait until tomorrow night (Weds.) when he's over anyway for date night.  (We now have a VERY romantic date night planned, involving the plumbing aisle at Home Depot and laying on our backs under the sink.  But Home Depot plays the best music, and much to Red's chagrin I usually end up dancing in the aisles, so there is that.)

The unfortunate back story here is, when I bought my house, a plumber looked under the sink and laughed and proclaimed that someone before me had done some reverse engineering.  Engineering that defies gravity.  But, it was mostly working -- some water would always sit in the pipe that is sloped up instead of down -- and it was connected to some original (read "old and fragile") pipes, and frankly he didn't want to fix that and cause a larger problem in the process.  Fast forward to tonight. Yeehaw. (The bath tub plumbing has suffered a similar fate, I suspect at the hands of the same "I can fix this" homeowner.*  Talk about waiting for the other shoe to drop.)

So here's what we're looking at.  Here's the overview:

Let me help you because that's just a crazy photograph.  The foil on the back wall is insulation held up with black duct tape.  That's an exterior wall, and being a 1929 house my walls do not have insulation, so I added that when I ripped out cabinets (when I realized that it was, um, COLD under there.  Where my pipes are.  Uh huh.)

Next we have some lovely shelf paper, upon which are resting two drinking glasses, holding up two 9"x13" baking pans with towels in them to catch drips.  (I have a fan blowing into the cabinet to dry it.)  And then... see the horizontal silver pipe running from the garbage disposal on the left, uphill to the right hand sink pipe?  That is the culprit.  I wrapped it in duct tape (which really didn't help much.)  When I squeezed the pipe with my hand, it was sort of soft -- I'm not a plumber, but I am fairly confident when I say that isn't a desirable attribute for a pipe.  That's the pipe that continually holds water because of the whole gravity defying thing.  So no huge surprise that it finally corroded.

Here's a view of where it connects on the left, on the back of the disposal -- the disposal that I would just as soon just take out and reclaim that space under the sink:

My common sense assessment of how to solve the upward slope issue is that basically the right hand side of that white PVC p trap needs to be longer/higher so that the pipe is at least horizontal, if not sloped the opposite way. 

Here's the right hand side:

The other pipe with the p trap visually looks like its corroded, but it still feels solid when you touch it.  But do you see the vertical skinny pipe in the background against the insulation?  That's 81 years old.  Me no want to touch that. 

Meanwhile, after I got the pans and towels in place, I needed to see how wet things were under there.  e.g. how long has this been going on and I didn't know it?  The inside of the cabinet door was just barely dirty, telling me that it hadn't been getting the power blast of water every time I ran the water.  And I very rarely use my garbage disposal for a host of reasons -- that probably bought me some time.  I pulled up that shelf liner paper** -- well past its prime anyway.  Under it were planks painted white -- clearly original, damp but not rotted.  The bead board on the right wasn't wet at the bottom... I looked in the next adjoining cabinet and it seemed dry. 

All of the looking around inside cabinets (and I use that term loosely) just heightened my already very strong desire to gut my kitchen.  The counters don't exactly sit on cabinets -- they sit on a wooden wall with doors cut into it -- and I know from ripping out the cabinets before that it would all pull out very easily.  And the counter tops -- that 4" square white ceramic tile with grout that is supposed to be white?  Loathe.

You can read about my previous kitchen demo antics here
and here

(Sorry for the clunky links.  I know there is a prettier way to do that but I haven't taken the time to figure it out.)

I frankly think I could be pretty happy with planks on saw horses in there, (that is not an exaggeration, I really like camping) just to be rid of the cabinets... but I will muster my restraint.  Rationally I know that (a) I need to finish the bedroom wall project first; and (b) a kitchen remodel of any scale is not in my current budget.    But ohhhh the temptation now is even greater.  Must.  Remain.  Strong.  And, at least for the next meal or two, eat out, and, probably buy cookies for Friday night that someone else has baked. 

As per normal, I think we can probably fix this ourselves.   Okay, so maybe I'll be home from work on Thursday, waiting for a plumber, but at this point I am still optimistic.  It's sort of an adventure, right?  Earlier this week I re-caulked my bathtub with great success, so I'm feeling all plumber-y!  Stay tuned for updates... Let's all hope that the next post opens with a cookie sheet of freshly baked cookies...

*  I suspect the same homeowner who truly believed  that everything could be fixed with caulk.

**  I probably should have saved it when I ripped it out -- I'll bet there is some obscure State Fair award category for it.

Monday, December 19, 2011

A Celery Experiment

I read on Pinterest that you can plant the end from a bunch of celery when you cut it off and that it will grow.  Really?

Really.  This goes into the category of "Who Knew?"

I made sure it was an organic bunch of celery... and I don't have any illusions that I'll never store-buy celery again, but nonetheless.... who knew?

If I had a Hammer...

Here's a photo of that cute hammer Christmas ornament that I mentioned in the last post:

Isn't it charming?  It's my new favorite.  I don't believe that I'll actually take it to a Habitat build, though.  (Someone might steal it.)  :::grin:::

Friday, December 16, 2011

General Merriment was Had

I hosted (hostessed?) my first Christmas party of the year (perhaps ever in the new house...?) last night.  It was my main group of long time girlfriends -- there were 7 of us total -- and we did a potluck dinner and ornament exchange.  I had fun tinkering around with last minute centerpieces and touches of Christmas around the house.

For the centerpieces I used my glass block vases.  I dumped in some Epsom salt for snow, tossed in some cranberries (I ran them under water to get them wet) and rolled them around in the "snow" for a frosted effect, stuck in some fresh pine branch pieces and  candles.  Next I added a few pine cones that my sister in California sent me  (they are huge and gorgeous -- I use them all year round around the house.  Love them!  I had plans to hang a few up in a group by some red ribbon, but so far... that hasn't quite materialized.  But it's not Christmas yet!  I still have time, right?)   Here's how they turned out:

In retrospect, the elf statue is random and perhaps creepy.  Oh well.

In the bathroom I added a few frosted cranberries to my usual (Feng Shui) stones on the cistern:

They, too, probably would have benefited from some pine branch sprigs, but like the pine cones on ribbons, it alas, didn't happen.

As a last minute decoration for the cross piece of the sideboard, I threw this together:

It needs a little tweaking but in the dim light and nearly on the floor, it was fine...

The dining room chandelier had it's own little party going on:

Wednesday afternoon I made some monogrammed burlap place mats to anchor the plates.  I tend to entertain outdoors most of the time, so I didn't have a set of eight place mats* -- and the plates really needed to be visually anchored to the table.  I was going to write Christmas words like "Noel" and "Peace" on them, but opted for the simple monogram so that I could use them on occasions other than Christmas, and, frankly, due to time constraints.  (I suppose if I can think of 8 Christmas words that end with the letter "N" I could still do that -- suggestions in the comments, please!  Ha ha!)

(I did add cloth napkins after the photo was taken, I swear...) 

The place mats were ridiculously easy to make.  I used the "pull one string" technique to mark a straight line to cut; and made each mat 19" x 14".  Then I starched and ironed them to get them to lay flat and have the tiniest bit of body, and then painted the monogram on using a stencil and a foam paintbrush.  Ideally I would have run the edges of the mats through my sewing machine to hold the edges intact, but again, due to time...    But the mats held up fine for the dinner -- (I mean, really, how much hard use does a place mat get anyway?  And -- worst case scenario, I can make plenty more with the oh, 20 or so yards of burlap I have in my garden shed) and I'll easily get more uses out of them if I am careful in handling them when I put them away.  So - color me pleased with that less-than-an-hour-of-time-spent making those!

Everyone's food contribution was yummy -- and because it's all about the food** I have to tell you all about it.  We had the creamiest, most fabulous hummus and pita bread and a side of tabbouleh salad from Ali Baba for the appetizer, roasted veggies with olives, feta and toasted pine nuts over couscous for the entree, a field greens with pears and goat cheese salad (I don't know where it was from but it was to die for) a really great (and healthy!) chilled broccoli salad from Wholefoods, some totally addictive (or should I say seductive?)  "Seeduction" artisan bread from Wholefoods (can you guess what grocery store is closest to my house - lucky me) and of course an abundance of delicious wines.  Then we moved to the living room in front of the fire and wrapped up the whole shebang with an assortment of tantalizing desserts:  bite-sized cheesecakes in edible chocolate cups, snicker doodle cookies and other sweet goodies and coffee and then did our ornament exchange.

(The dangling frog is my ceiling fan pull!)

The exchange was great fun -- we drew numbers for the order of choosing and had fun comparing what different styles of ornaments everyone had chosen to bring.  (Note:  The number of ornaments sold immediately becomes overwhelming when you are only shopping for one... They all look dazzling and it's sooo hard to choose.)  The ornament I received is THE CUTEST little Old World ornament in the shape of a hammer!  Since we all do Habitat for Humanity it would have been perfect for any one of us.  I'll try to remember to post  a photo of it tomorrow...

Overall -- a successful night of general merriment with dear friends (who also wash dishes --!)  I am ever grateful for each of them.  

I almost forgot to post the photo of my tree!  It's a little blurry...

*      Nor did I have 8 dining room chairs, or 8 wine glasses -- thank goodness for the generosity of  neighbors! 

**   Family joke

Monday, December 12, 2011

A Rustic Sideboard

I've been saving lengths of reclaimed lumber (doesn't that sound so much better than "old wood"?) with plans in mind to build some type of long, narrow buffet or cabinet type piece that is table height for my dining room.  I'll just say... saving enough wood is taking forever.  Patience is not one of my virtues.  And so when I saw this little table on Pinterest

Via Pinterest

I decided to build it as an interim piece.  A quick, (with Red's help) zip-it-together rustic table.

When I started laying out the pieces for sizing and pre-assembly, I realized that I didn't have the right size lumber for the criss-cross legs.  The wood needed to be thicker to allow for notching at the cross. 

I flipped through my mental rolodex* of other small tables I've seen, and remembered this one that I had also flagged on Pinterest:

Via Pinterest
This one is built out of an upcycled wooden pallet so it's a "lighter" look than what I was after, but sometimes all you need is a glimpse of a construction design to use as a go by.  This one worked for me.  I used more of the lumber from my neighbor's old deck.  I wanted it to nearly fill the length of the wall, so I made the ends longer to extend past the legs.  I opted not to wrap the legs at the bottom, using instead a center foot-rail type piece.

I brushed off the dirt with a stiff bristle brush before assembly.  Once built, I hit the exposed sides with a sander, wiped it down with a damp rag, let it dry, and then put on a coat of stain with polyeurethane already in it.  I let it dry and heaved it (and I do mean "heave" -- it's heavy!) into the dining room.  I still need to put felt feet under it to protect my floors.

It will be perfect as a rustic sideboard in my dining room!  I'm having a bunch of girlfriends over on Thursday night this week and it will be the perfect opportunity to break it in.  I'll probably drape it with burlap and a little ribbon and pinecones to give it that holiday touch.  When I finally do save enough lumber for what I really want in this room, I'll re-purpose this to someplace else.  Maybe I'll get a horse -- it looks like it could be a decent hitching post...

*  I still have my rolodex from the 80's on my office bookshelf -- it's retro!

Package Delivery!

I finally finished these this weekend!  This is the project that I've been talking about but wouldn't blog about...

Looking at the photo, I see that I have them off center on the blue pot -- I need to adjust that.  And I need to add a bow on the bottom and middle packages too -- I ran out of the red ribbon.  Ribbon never seems to go as far as I think it will when I am estimating...

At any rate, I'm pretty happy with them considering I didn't have instructions for them.  I saw a photo of them on Pinterest which I have posted below.  The woman who made them made them out of plastic and covered them with scrapbook paper.  Her porch, apparently, stays dry.  Mine gets the full brunt of any weather, so I knew the boxes would have to be quite a bit more substantial.

Via Pinterest

My painting isn't as clean as I would have liked (the fleur de lis are upside down for example -- THAT was irritating when I realized I had the box upside down while painting!) and the box edges aren't as perfect as I would have liked -- up close you can see caulk/sealant and some uneven wooden edges -- but from a distance they are passable.  I hope they last several years.  Ho ho ho!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Alternative Gazing Ball

I found an idea on Pinterest to cover an old bowling ball in pennies and place it in your garden.  I loved that it was re-purposing a discarded item and loved that it would be an usual "event" in my garden.  The text said that the copper will help repel slugs and keep your hydrangeas blue.  I'm dubious about both of those -- I think the volume of copper "run-off" would be minimal -- too minimal to have any actual effect -- but it doesn't change the fact that I like the look.

A few weeks ago I spent an entire glorious afternoon poking around in various thrift stores, and lo and behold I found a bowling ball (and bag, let's not forget the bag) for $4.99.  I was like a little kid at Christmas... I snatched it up, and looked around to see if anyone had noticed what a total score it was.  (No.  lol)   For a while I lugged it around the store like a ball and chain... ultimately plopping it into a shopping cart and heading to check out.

This past weekend, partly due to being captive in my home due to the White Rock Marathon (not complaining, you all just keep on running) and mostly due to inclement weather, I lined up projects to do indoors. I picked up some marine glue, scoured the office and house for stores of pennies, and set to work:

Fun for all, I tell you, gluing pennies on a bowling ball... until the bottom of the tube rips and 8 minutes later you realize you have about 3 tablespoons of Herculean strength adhesive globbed down your wrist... Gloves.  Wear gloves.  And a drop cloth wouldn't be a bad idea either...

It's trickier than you might think, getting them all squished in against each other and spaced proportionately.  Thankfully you do have a little bit of time during which you can slide them around before they permanently adhere.  I'm going to give myself a pat on the back for starting on the finger-hole side of the bowling ball to learn the technique, (which, let's be honest who even knew a technique would be involved??) which will most certainly be the side that goes down in the dirt! 

I have it sitting in a mixing bowl with a towel on top to keep it from rolling around my livingroom floor as I work... And now, while I wait for more pennies to magically appear in my house, its on my dining room table.  I'll admit to touching it like a bald man's head when I walk by... it's cold and the pennies feel funny under my hand.

Over time the pennies will develop that copper patina -- how fun is that?  Anyone have any ideas for a brown circa 1970's zippered bowling ball bag?

Monday, December 5, 2011

Needing a Santa

My Saturday night....

Remarkably, this wasn't even all of us -- there were several more in the next room.  We were getting our elfin magic on in anticipation of our neighborhood party on the 17th.  You know, you can be rusty after an entire year...  We had a bus and we ducked into several neighborhood haunts, jingling bells, singing carols (okay only one time) and dancing -- literally with bells on!  Last year when we did it we bumped into another bus of all Santas, but not this year.  Too bad, because that was quite a sight!

Bits of news...

My exterior Christmas lights on my house are unhappy with the rain, (I think we've gotten 4" inches in the last few days) so they are on the fritz - which makes me unhappy...

I made great progress on the Christmas "construction" project that I mentioned in a previous post, but not enough to finish and snap photos.  Again, I'm blaming the rain...

I did get a wreath made; have you priced ready-made wreaths?  They seem ridiculously expensive to me for what you get.  A few weeks ago I bought a strand of pine bough garland 50% off  at Garden Ridge (Hobby Lobby?  They all look the same to me...)  I wrapped it around a coat hanger pulled into a round, and used twist ties to affix it.  Next I added some lights, and some white snow flakes that I had on hand.  I need a red bow, but I know better than to try to make one myself...  Anyway, here's an in-progress photo as I worked on the living room floor:

I was so pleased when I finished it that despite the nasty weather outside I went out and hung it up.  And that's when I figured out that the rain was tripping the circuits for my lights -- alas, the wreath is up, but is not illuminated.  Sigh.

Monday, November 28, 2011

And then there were 3

I got my tomato cage lights trees up last night...

I'm working on something for my front porch pots -- building, painting... can't wait to get those out there and show you!  I've had a bad cold that's slowed me down -- not to mention the 20+ mph north winds we had the last 2 days.  Not a favorable combination...

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Pinterest Christmas, Part 2

And here is the implementation of idea number two -- ribbon and balls strung inside an empty frame.  You might remember the wooden frames I built and hung from my back steps -- and the dilemma of what to put on the insides of them?  And then I decided I like them empty... and then --

I had the ribbon and ornaments on hand already, and I used upholstery tacks to attach the ribbon to the frames.  The ornaments are plastic, so they should survive the elements.   It will be a little bit of holiday cheer to welcome me when I come home and come in the back of the house.

Pinterest Christmas, Part 1

I'm starting to actually implement ideas from my Pinterest Christmas board, as opposed to just collecting photographs.  Although I can take no credit for the ideas, there is some minor satisfaction in the follow through.

First, my dining room windows -- one photo from the inside looking out, and one from my neighbor's driveway looking up:

It's sort of hard to see, I know.  I used a $2.00 tension rod, white curly ribbon, my hot glue gun, and Christmas balls.  I like it as much as I thought I would, and it was just as easy as it looks.  You've just gotta love that.