Friday, October 31, 2008
So here goes: Paint, paint, paint! We are pretty well done with our big giant building/infrastructure type projects. We've decided that our next 3 projects are the three bedrooms upstairs: the Animal room, The Bamboo room, and the Fruit Room (our room, there's no fruit wallpaper but there must once have been because 'Fruit Room' is written on the backs of all the drawers in the built in, in old fashioned handwriting). We're optimistically thinking of getting all three revamped over the winter, except for stripping the window sashes (too cold!).
Despite the fact that we do like the vintage bamboo paper and that the animals have a cult following, we really need to do a different wall treatment - the papers are torn, stained, and not everyone digs the tacky kitsch. Plus, we tore the hell out of some things when we re-wired everything. So we'll do some muted blue green, brassy-light green, and probably an off white - all with creamy trim. The $100 would pretty much cover all the paint for all 3 rooms, plus some paintbrushes - though I've managed to not destroy one nice cut-in brush over the past couple years.
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
So, on the rainy Sunday, Ken took an hour off from his busy work tasks and hung the lights, wiring them into the kitchen system. Nothing like over-the-head work, but his arms are recovering. Here they are, it is soooo bright in there now!
Monday, October 27, 2008
Friday, October 24, 2008
We grabbed these shrubs at the end-of-season sale at the big box - 75% off! - just to fill in. These were $4 each, less expensive than the mums we already had. Love those sales!
We also put in some rock to complete the half-round shape of the deck-patio complex since the stairs ended up more square than originally planned.
Deck - check! So nice to cross that off. And nice to not fall off the rickety, crappy old porch all winter. Blech - glad that's gone.
Thursday, October 23, 2008
We bought 2 of these lights off Ebay about, oh, 2 years ago. These were the photos they were sold with - they looked absolutely hideous but for something like $15 for the pair, and with those Bungalicious square loops (the diamondy-shaped connectors) staring at me, we took the chance.
Monday, October 20, 2008
Turned out, this was the easiest refinishing project I have ever, ever done. Unbelievable.
I was in the cellar throwing in a load of laundry, and since we had already ripped all the crud off the chair, I figured I'd take a piece of sandpaper to the finish and see how terrible of a job it was going to be. I already had decided that sanding should be the way to go - it was not painted and had very little dirty old varnish on it. I don't usually choose sanding over stripping, but it just seemed right.
Well, in about 5 minutes I had all the finish off of an entire arm, so I did the other arm. Then the legs. Then the gorgeous back splat (bent oak! Does that take some chutzpah or what!?) Before the laundry cycle was even done, the whole chair was cleaned of varnish.
I tried my best to find something loose that needed gluing or tightening, but no dice. The only missing bit was a wooden button that went over a countersunk screw, and I have plenty of those. So I popped that in there, and then grabbed the stain & headed outside.
I used Jacobean - typically I've been using one of the very dark walnut stains, but this was totally it - I'm a convert. It's just like those old fumed oak finishes - provided you leave some patina intact and don't sand to bare wood. Check out the gorgeous flake in this oak - goes great with our famous (well, infamous) animal room, no?
Then some tung oil and it was ready to add the seat, which Ken & I had been working on reupholstering for some time. It's a canvas-webbing type drop in seat, so after we removed the icky pillow and the old stuffing which looked like a combination of cotton batting and hay (no lie!), we put on new webbing, stapled some canvas over it, and then stapled on new fabric. It actually took longer to do the seat than strip the chair. And look at that wallpaper, for cripes sake. Is it cripes or cripe's or cripes'? I find all three spellings in the literature. Is cripe a person? If so, should it not be capitalized? Anyways, I digress. It's - the wallpaper's - gotten such a cult following that I'm not sure we can rip it down. Maybe we can sell it on Ebay. I bet there's even a Jesus or a Virgin Mary lurking somewhere in one of the animal stripe patterns...hmmm...Regardless, I find it slightly frightening that this chair looks so damn good in there. Maybe my subconscious picked fabric that matched the wallpaper. What's up with that?
Kudos to the Peirce Furniture Co. of Boston, who made a chair about a hundred years ago that was structurally in perfect shape in 2008. Now that's quality.
Another chair refinishing success story is here. You guys do rock!
Friday, October 17, 2008
Thanks for a lovely day, Mom, Dad, Lanie & Richard! Happy trails...and now we're into the season called "get ready for winter" season. Time to button up the house and get out the hot cocoa.
Thursday, October 9, 2008
- Remove from hinges and remove the glass window. Take off all the hardware. Sometimes I've been lazy and thought, nah, I'll just do something in situ - but I've learned to just take things fully apart and fix them, then put them back. It does seem to save time in the long run even though it seems like a pain at the time.
- Rip strips of fir, bring to cabinet shop to get more of the window stay moulding made that was destroyed when taking out glass.
- Strip all the paint. Then fill holes, sand to feather in scuffs, clean anything else.
- Stain the door.
- Strip all the paint off the hardware.
- In our case, we then put it back on (security issues), temporarily filling the glass void with OSB. Ken fixed some 'wallered-out' holes where the hinges attach to the frame using the old toothpick trick.
- We soon got the moulding strips back, stained them, and then re-glazed the glass window. This is Ken's specialty.
- Puttied any remaining holes.
- We had a long waiting period (other projects), but now we've varnished the door with spar varnish. Man is that stuff thick! 2-3 coats. For the second coat, I used a foam brush, which was much better than bristle - it went on thinner and a bit more even, perhaps. The door is now gleaming.
- Weatherstripped. We used spring bronze, recommended by Joe. It seems to be working and is very authentic indeed.
- Added hardware and a kickplate. The kickplate arrived via UPS literally as I was varnishing the door! The nice UPS man saw me with the brush and politely told me he'd leave the package on the deck. I told him that the package was a gift for that very door! Ah, it was meant to be, ma cherie (wait, is door a feminine or masculine noun? La porte, right - feminine. Of course).
- And, added the second of our two knockers.
I think it's done and ready for snow to pile up.
Sunday, October 5, 2008
Anyways, this weekend was a very varied and productive one. After I returned from Boston late Friday night (thanks for the accommodations, C, A, and Gus!), we got down to business. Well, after sleeping late on Saturday.
First, we wrapped up the garden and grabbed a harvest. This time of year, you worry that every night will be the last for some of these guys - so we've been grabbing tomatoes, flowers, herbs - everything we can freeze, dry, put up, or at least enjoy for a few more moments. Here was Saturday's harvest. We LOVE fall snap peas! Yum.
Did I mention my chinese lanterns (physalis - the common name is either Chinese or Japanese lantern, how gauche to use them interchangeably! Eek)? I love these guys, we had them at the farm and they're just so neat. I've been working on a very small patch I started from just a few teeny plants when we first moved in - this year we had a respectable crop with many, many lanterns. Last year - only 2 lanterns. I even cut some this year! The leaves get eaten by the damn harlequin beetles, but the plants look great otherwise and the flowers are fine. I kill all those beetles all the time, but this is the only thing they eat and I can't seem to keep up. Plants are doing great so I guess I won't worry. (Right?)
p.s. - seen the new Motawi tile of these flowers? Love it.
And we worked on El Decko. Almost, almost done. Really, it's functionally done. We put on all the last steps - so the temporary ones aren't falling all over any more - and cut all the boards that were still straggly. We still need to treat it and build that large planter that will cover all our mistakes (you can't see the area in this picture - but it's rough looking!)
And then today I had to go to work at the paying job, at a really terrible place. I know you'll feel really sorry for me when you see the photo below. One of the absolute treasures of the Great State of Maine, Baxter State Park. Baxter was a gift of a former governor of the state, who gave the lands to the people of the state - so we all own it. Rock on, Percival Baxter! I hope you were reincarnated as a giant tree at the top of Katahdin. Where it snowed this week! Ah, nothing like a whitecap mountain to make you remember that not only is fall here, winter is right around the corner. Which is a great thing for those of us who love snow season.