Sunday, December 27, 2009
So, we've been laying pretty low. Our goal for holiday break is to work on the old punch list again, and after catching up on sleep after the jet-lagged, red-eye-flight, airport-dwelling beginning of the week, we started on a couple of those tasks.
Sorry readers, it's going to be a while still till our next big project - our bedroom. We pushed it back to March break - it'll just work better. Anyways, Item 1 on the punch list was to finally put a surround around our pellet stove. See, when we bought the stove, there were two different sets of dimensions for our model, depending on which piece of literature you had in your hand. We knew that it would either just barely or not quite fit all the way back in the firebox. Turns out, it doesn't quite fit in the firebox - the back of the 'finished' part of the stove sticks out about an inch from the brick surround.
We wanted to avoid any giant, tacky surround piece (like the big brass or black frame sold by the stove shop), so we've been just waiting for a solution to pop up. We decided to figure something out just before I left, and went to the big box with the idea of finding something metal we could tuck behind the stove and paint black to make it fade away.
Then, Ken happened upon a random piece of someone's roof flashing, in a custom reddish-copper color. We thought it would closely match the brickwork, and we snapped it up (it was marked down from $18 to $5.25, and the woman rang it up for $4.71, so the price was right).
Using the existing lengthwise bend to fit it against the stove back's 'lip', we cut it to size with tin snips...
...and brought in some clamps and wood to make a break for bending the metal to fit in the firebox, but were one piece short & too lazy to go back to the garage, so we used a copy of "Swan's Way" as the final piece of the metal brake. Thanks, Proust!
Though we planned to use liquid nails to tack it to the brick, it 'sticks' just fine with no adhesive so far, so it ended up being a really simple, easy, tidy, quick project.
And, now we won't have escaping pellets falling down behind the stove anymore - finally!
Saturday, December 12, 2009
...and, always a sucker for a deal on combined shipping, I nabbed it. It's a Brownie (box camera) Model 2-F, probably from around the late 1920s to early 1930s.
We got it in the mail a couple of weeks ago, got some film, and just started messing with it on the night of the snowstorm. We cleaned it, found the old manual (which is entertaining in itself), then we shot a roll of film. We were kind of just seeing if it worked at all - so we didn't pay much attention to the exposure time or subjects.
Today we walked down to the camera shop to pick up the prints (if it worked at all). We were thrilled to see a huge roll of negatives with things that looked pretty recognizable on it - but the camera shop folks (the best ones in town, so they should know) said they can't develop that size negative - it's like 2x3". Hmmm.
Then we thought, Photoshop can make things look like negatives, so maybe it can make things double negative (=positive). So we scanned in the negatives and messed around with the results.
From inside the dining room, through windows, stained glass panel, and plastic (not bad!)
Just after the snowstorm, the garage.
We actually took the photos 'blind' - all the silver had flaked off the viewfinder mirrors and I didn't want to open it up to replace them with film in; now you can actually see something with new mirrors so the next photos should be better composed! Our scans were not at the best resolution and we can play more with contrast - but it was totally an amazing process:
- to use a camera with absolutely no electronics, batteries, buttons, beeps, etc.
- to see the giant negatives (when was the last time you saw film negatives?)
- to realize the camera worked
- to take something from 1929 or so, snap a totally mechanical photo, then 'develop' it on a computer in 2009.
Sunday, December 6, 2009
First, while I was at Lowe's the other day buying a replacement part for the upstairs toilet, I realized that with only $15.95 I could finally replace the el-cheapo toilet seat that came with the downstairs toilet (2 years+ ago). That gross thing was thin molded plastic and had these little concave areas underneath that were atrocious to clean. Plus the yucky plastic hinges - ew.
And, 10 minutes later, solid seat with chrome hinges:
I know, it really doesn't look much different. But it is!
Then it snowed. Which is great - we love the snow. So we put up some decorations outside.
Then, as the mudroom descended into a chaotic pile of mittens, boots, and hats, I went on a hunt for a mudroom bench. Someday we'll build one from our stash of oak lumber, but one more winter with a big ol' mess was sounding like a bad option.
So I scouted all the usual haunts - thrift store, online, various horrid big box stores, etc. Found nothing good that was a reasonable price for a somewhat temporary solution. Then, at KMart, I found a Martha Stewart buffet table from the Mission Bungalow collection.
It was on clearance and the dimensions were perfect for a mudroom bench - it was just too tall. So, I lugged it home, we did some measuring, and we immediately set to work destroying it. We cut a foot off each leg, left off the plate rack & second shelf (which goes on the cut-off part of the legs), and voila! A better shot at mudroom organization. Thanks Martha!
p.s., this table seems to actually be wood and is quite solid. So maybe someday it'll be re-purposed into a coffee table or something else.
Saturday, November 28, 2009
I don't know why we've developed such a hatred for the stupid thing, but it's completely obnoxious and I can't wait for them to finally decide it's too cold and bring the dumb thing in. Once they put a large rock behind this thing - and put it in the middle of one lane of the road - which would have inflicted major damage on someone's car had they hit it. And I don't know about you, but seeing these types of idiotic things just makes me want to drive faster.
People - if you think the speed limit is too high in your neighborhood, go to a town meeting or get a petition started to commission a traffic study! Don't just put out a passive-aggressive fluorescent green creepy plastic kid imported from China, resulting in air and, eventually, water pollution that will be much more harmful to your kids than the occasional speeding motorist.
There, I've said my piece. Happy Thanksgiving! We're giving thanks for the smiting of our enemy, Traffic Child.
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
So guys, if you buy your girl some jewels, don't be surprised if she hawks them to get a new deck, or have the floors refinished, or start a kitchen re-do. That is, unless you bought her a diamond-encrusted tile saw so she can do her tile project...
Sunday, November 22, 2009
The question is, what is the first thing we did as soon as we got the keys to our house? Well, after we had the lawyer kick out the grown son of the previous owner (who had broken in because his plane got in late and he didn't have keys, and needed to get a few last things from the house! Surprise! as he came up freshly showered from the basement bathroom when we arrived for our pre-closing walk-through!), we lugged over our sleeping bags, some champagne, and some snacks and we all planned to sack out in front of the fireplace - our favorite pigpile with cats & dog seemed in order.
Settling in by the fireplace with a desk lamp and extension cord (there were no lights in the living room), I realized there was no way I could sleep in front of the hideous 1970's-era brass fireplace screen. Ugh, I can hardly even look at this photo:
"Can we just rip this off right now?" Ken knew that it was kind of a rhetorical question. So, off it came (with all the wrong tools and a lot of swearing). Then we sat in the fireplace like Cinderella, scrubbing ages of crummy soot off until it looked reasonable. Here it is now, after lots more work:
Then, sleep. It's amazing we were able to wait another 48 hours before we tore the horrible green brain carpet off the stairs!
This post was written for Houseblogs.net as part of a sweepstakes sponsored by True Value.
Saturday, November 14, 2009
At any rate, we got a bunch of leaves down to the curb in time for one of their passes, and I snapped a photo of the most awesome vacuum ever. Yes, that hose is big enough to engulf that guy. Can you imagine the dust bunnies you could suck up with this thing?
If the weekend's not a total washout, we hope to get the rest of the leaves to the curb for the next pass. This year they're paying special attention to the leaf removal because trees in our area had leaf Tar Spot, a fungus that was widespread because of our wet summer. Apparently if we compost the leaves or keep them around, it's more likely we'll get it again next year. So, removal it is this time.
Saturday, November 7, 2009
Tomorrow is supposed to be pretty warm (in the 50s!), and it's a day we have to hike for work. Even though we really should be raking the yard, etc. instead. Hopefully we'll get that pesky raking done before it snows - again!
Wednesday, October 28, 2009
This guy feasted on all Ken's remaining sunflower heads. While doing amazing acrobatics. Who'd have thought that he could perch atop sunflowers taller than us, hopping around like he was walking on clouds. With a full belly, hopefully he's ready for winter.
Sunday, October 11, 2009
This post was written for Houseblogs.net as part of a sweepstakes sponsored by True Value. http://www.startrightstarthere.com/
A friend recently commented that the projects we post on the blog are all so nice and inspirational. But behind the scenes, our projects are much more like a Three Stooges episode.
Saturday, October 3, 2009
Monday, September 21, 2009
- weeded all the beds
- mowed the lawn
- changed over annual planters to mums (yuck)
- turned all the compost
- raked leaves
- watered every dang plant in the yard
- pruned & deadheaded everything
- Ken finished the grape trellis extension, then he
- finished nailing the last few fence slats, then he
- cut the large corner fence post down one level (the aesthetics weren't working), then
- I built and installed a fence cap on it (made from scrap cedar + the lid of a cast lantern I got at a yard sale for $3 - which saved my life because I was sucking at cutting double miters to make a little cupola-type thingy).
Sunday, September 13, 2009
Tuesday, September 8, 2009
Friday, September 4, 2009
They had already sanded some parts of it, saving me work, but we still have a bit to do.
And - most importantly -we MUST change out the hardware. Before the dresser even touched the ground here in the bungalow, these pulls were OFF.
I know, they sort of make you throw up a little, don't they? Bleagh.
Wednesday, August 26, 2009
This morning was cool enough to rip out the last dead hedge piece and replace it with two small new guys that will (someday) fill in. We got these guys at the less-expensive good nursery, on sale. And they were still a bit pricey. But a steal compared to what they charge for 5-6', balled and burlapped cedars for hedges. Since the non-dead section of hedge is in great shape, over 60 feet long and over 6' tall, we figure the existing hedge is probably worth more than the house! Crazy!
Sunday, August 16, 2009
Sunday, August 9, 2009
The other two will be on the left side, in an L. This is the back corner of our yard, where the dead hedge grew (and where trash blew in through said dead hedge from the main road out that way).
The corner post looks odd now, but it should look good once we put a copper roof on it. It is pressure treated (everything else is cedar) because we wanted to sink it, so to make it look cedariffic, we clad it with leftover shakes. Kind of an architectural-type flavor to it.
A couple of more sunny days and we'll be done. If we can stand the cedar splinters in the eyes, that is! Even with saftey goggles on, they somehow always manage to get in there. Nasty!
Monday, August 3, 2009
Oh boy, this is a task. We had accumulated all manner of hardware, lighting parts, planters, heating grates, etc. that are now on the Island of Misfit Toys and need to find a home where they'll be loved. There's nothing wrong with them - they just didn't end up working stylistically, or in the case of the awsome grille covers, we didn't need them. Bummer because it was really, really hard to find mission-style grilles, and I love these!
So, if you're in the market for house parts, feel free to check out our stuff and place a bid! (Shameless plug).
Thursday, July 30, 2009
We found these chairs at Marshall's (we live dangerously close to one), and then found the small iron tray stand and tray at an antique shop when I was in NH. I painted the tray and stenciled the same design in the center as is on the chairs. Sadly, you'd have a wet bum if you sat out there today. Go away, rain!
Sunday, July 26, 2009
However, it looks like it will be a while 'till we can construct said fence. The water table is only about 18" belowground, as illustrated here:
We are having the coolest and wettest summer since the Little Ice Age (mid-1800s), and it's totally messing up the schedule.
Friday, July 24, 2009
And now we're selling our leftover light restoration parts on ebay. Need any square chain, anyone? It's a total bitch to polish, but it looks cool!
Monday, July 20, 2009
Saturday, July 18, 2009
Now if the rain would quit again for a couple of days we could get started on our last fence project.
Friday, July 17, 2009
We will always sweep up after a big potting mess, and will wipe up big spills. We'll avoid making loads of big cuts in the bench - though it is a workbench - and will make sure it's always presentable. We will do our best to stack the empty pots and fit them in their places. We will remember to occasionally see if there are un-used items that can go to the yard sale pile.