Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Getting ready for winter

The storm windows are in, the stove is fired up, and it's getting cold.

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

Hey, Moe!

If you've read this one before - sorry you have to look at my legs again. (Ick). The story's back for a contest - and we could use some financial help now! So, bear with us! More (new) material soon.

This post was written for as part of a sweepstakes sponsored by True Value.

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.

Take tonight for example.

I spent all day finishing sanding all the little annoying cracks and crevices on a dresser I recently bought for Ken's birthday (it's not a surprise, obviously). After dinner, I did the final sand and began staining it.

As I walked around from one side to another, the stain can slipped from my hand and splattered all over the garage floor, several tools, a big tool box, the chop saw, and me.

At that very moment, Ken came walking out of the house - he had answered the phone and was bringing it out to me. Barefoot. As I hollered about having a stain emergency and I couldn't talk, and he began trying to explain it to my mom on the phone, he stepped on a weirdly-shaped wood scrap in the driveway (leftover from the other day's fence-capade) and shouted as he hurt his foot.

He hustled my mom off the phone (I called back), and came over to laugh at my leopard-print self (and grump about the tools, which I later cleaned).

Of course, I was in the middle of staining the dresser so I couldn't stop - so I threw an old pair of pajama pants on the mess (they were in the rag pile) and kept going. I ran out of stain - it being all over the floor - and had to use the stain-soaked pajama-pants rag from the floor to squeeze out the last little bit of coverage. Happy Freakin' Birthday, honey.

Once I finished, I wiped off all the tools off and went in to shower. Yuck. After ruining a loofah, a nail brush, and giving up, I stepped out of the shower only to have a huge moth fly right into my wet hair. Superb.

So, here I sit in my pajamas, ready for bed at 8:10, as soon as I finish this margarita while keeping my stainy feet off anything important.

Tomorrow we'll start over in a (hopefully) less Stooge-y way, and attempt to finish the back fence. That is, if we can keep from clunking our heads together long enough.

Good night!

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Privacy, please!

Every time we have guests over, we remember that the guest room door doesn't close all the way, and we add it to the list of things to do. Somehow, it never actually gets written down on the actual list of things to do - and we forget. Then, guests are over again, and doh! we forgot to fix the door. So they have limited privacy, and run the risk of having cats but in & wake them up, or the dog breaking into the room while we're out and eating their belongings (e.g., a clean (thankfully) baby diaper - sorry Daniel!).

We've had guests the last couple of weekends - the last of the summer season before we button up the house - and somehow I remembered to fix the door before they arrived (ok, so it was like 3 hours before they arrived, but still before!

I did a bad, bad thing and planed the top down until it fit. I always feel guilty doing that after swearing about other people doing it - but we had tried everything else in this case. So I planed and made a huge mess (in the room I'd just cleaned) for about 45 minutes. The door closed!

But it didn't latch. It was going to be one of those projects. Ugh. I noticed that the little latch was not going into the strikeplate - a common problem, and it usually is rectified by shimming out the strikeplate. After we removed about 8 metric tons of paint from the trim, things tend be a bit slimmer. So I got to try out an idea we had.

Last year, we were thinking about shimming out strikeplates, and we thought it might be a clever thing to use a piece of leather as the shim - it's easier to cut, we could get brown (and not have to stain it), and you could easily add multiple thicknesses. Plus, if you make a mistake, you can easily trim it or make a new one.

So we bought this hideous (leather) purse at the thrift store for like 25 cents*. And then it sat around in the closet for a long time (carefully stashed lest someone think I would own this thing). Here was the opportunity to try it out. I cut a piece out of the flap, traced the strikeplate, and reinstalled it with the leather shim behind it - which worked out perfectly.
Unfortunately, though I think the shim was necessary in the end, it turned out that the strikeplate was too low on the jamb and the latch still wouldn't grab! So, back to the garage for the chisels, I re-cut the mortise, then reinstalled the strikeplate and leather shim - and it stayed shut! Finally, some privacy for guests. And it only took about 2 hours - 1:55 more than I estimated. As per usual.
* There's no cents sign on a keyboard? Huh.