Monday, November 6, 2017

Master Bath Mostly Finished

All I have left to do is to put another coat of varnish on the little shelf, and that project in the master bathroom is officially done. I'd also like to install grab bars in the shower, but we didn't get to that this week. We still need to pick up masonry drill bits.
Now that we have the towels and other stuff off the counter, we were able to oil the soapstone again. I much prefer the darker green color the oil brings out. And I also finished re-hemming the curtains so they'd fit in the windows again.
The curtain fabric is a cheery, bright William Morris pattern. The colors aren't period, but the pattern is.

I was also pretty excited that JCPenney's finally carried the dark green towel color again this year. I've been looking for nearly five years for towels that matched the soapstone—I knew they made them because I had bought one back in our old house in Forest Grove (around 2000)—finally this year they had the right color green, called Green Gables.

I bought them during their Labor Day Sale when they were marked down 50%, then I used a coupon for another 30% off! They were a really good deal. And now that I know they take so long to cycle around to this dark green color, I stocked up on hand towels.

I've made at least a dozen more squares in the past couple of days for my sewing room curtains. And when I was in there sewing last night I started gazing longingly at my fabric shelves. I couldn't understand why I wanted to make another quilt so bad until I realized it has been nearly five years since I finished my last one. No wonder I'm getting the itch to quilt again. I think I'll have to start another quilt in December, once I'm done with NaNoWriMo.

Friday, November 3, 2017

Write, Sew, Write, Sew

I'm enjoying November. It's nice to take a break from our overconsumption of news. We've fallen into a bit of a pattern of writing during the day and then consuming news/TV in the evening. I have taken to listening to videos in my sewing room while I'm sewing. So I am back to work making squares for my sewing room curtains; I've made about a dozen more purple squares in the past couple of days.
This is what the squares look like
I'm hoping to get the squares done this month, though maybe not assembled into curtains by then. Honestly, I'm just happy to have my sewing room cleared and usable and to be making some progress again.

Our light hasn't been good, but here is a picture of the Morris chair I finished recovering earlier this week. (Maybe someday I'll invest in better photo-taking gear.)
It seems like the cushion is a little too wide for the chair. I guess I should have also measured the chair and not just copied the cushion I removed. Yes, it's the same size.

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Sewing Again

I decided I wanted to make new cushions for the cool morris chair we bought five years ago. Yeah, it's been sitting around in our living room for five years in an unusable condition.
The disaster that confronted me 
Anyway, late last week I went into my sewing room to sew and it was such a huge mess I couldn't do anything in there. Everything was covered in a thick layer of grime, there were probably four projects piled on top of each other, and there was so much junk stashed in there it was hard to even get around. I had to spend an entire day just cleaning up the room.

Once I organized my in-progress projects into tubs, evicted the non-sewing room junk, and wiped down the grime, the room was much better.

I finally repainted the damaged frieze. The plaster popped out a piece when the bathroom was demo'd and then we asked our plaster guy to patch it when he came out to surface the bathroom walls, but I had never gotten around to touching up the paint.

And I've also been meaning to show a photo of the floor mat. When I wrote about it before, it was still curled from shipping. It flattened out nicely and I've been really happy with it.
This view never gets old
Starting to get organized again
Quilt wall hanging
Tidier, but still needs some work
It took me about four days to finish cutting the foam and sewing the cushion covers, but I did finish them. It was not the most fun sewing project I've done because it was a struggle sewing so many layers of bulky velvet, but I'm glad to be finished. I will show photos of the finished chair maybe tomorrow when I have a chance to take a photo during the day.

And, since I had a few hours to spare this evening, I pulled out the curtain project again. Yeah, another project I abandoned unfinished for way too long. I was wondering why I abandoned it back in April and then I remembered that my sewing machine had died and I needed to take it in for service and by the time I got it back I had basically lost interest in working on it.

Hopefully, when I get burned out on writing in November, I'll go work on piecing squares for my curtains for a few hours. And, now that it's November, Jeff and I will be turning our attention to participating in NaNoWriMo. Wish us luck! 😈

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Scattershot Progress

I have been randomly jumping around from project to project the last couple of weeks, in an attempt to get some overdue projects done before we shut down all the house projects to focus exclusively on writing in November.

We did get back to the brackets in the bathroom, but it was delayed because I decided I wanted to paint them a different color. I had painted them the fake-chrome I used in the basement, but it looked really stupid next to the real chrome. So, I went and bought heritage white spray paint that was a close match to the tile and recoated them.

They went up pretty well, though there are a couple of scratches I need to touch up before I declare it done.
The brackets painted fake-chrome
Painting all the pieces
Heritage white paint color
Jeff is struggling to get the chrome hooks hung because the screws they came with suck. They keep stripping, no matter what prep he does. Yes, we can replace them, but there is at least one stuck in the wood that we haven't been able to remove. Jeff's talking about grinding it down with a dremel tool.

Since he gets way too much anxiety from these kinds of frustrating projects, I'm considering finding a handyman who can spend a few hours installing hardware throughout the two bathrooms we never entirely finished.

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Avoid TN Wholesale Nursery

I am posting this entry mainly to catch google searches to warn off potential buyers from any of their websites I have found. I don't expect any of you guys to actually read this. Some of you may recall a post I made in spring about a large bulk order from Wholesale Nursery. As expected, my dispute was reversed and I ended up paying $200 for dead twigs. I was obviously angry.

(And actually, since I've had a couple of these stupid reversals from criminal companies by Discover card, I'm going to stop using it as my primary credit card. I'm guessing the credit card companies have bribed Congress to allow them to change the dispute rules in the last few years. I seem to remember that once upon a time you could dispute a charge successfully if a company failed to deliver on their promises. Apparently, that is no longer a thing. Now it seems all they have to do is show that you authorized the charge, regardless of whether they held up their end of the bargain.)

Anyway, I was pretty angry and I did a bunch more research about this company and I want to post more info about the many URLs this company has so that if potential buyers are clever enough to do a google search on them, they may find my post.

If you have already been scammed by this company, you have my apologies. I know how it feels. I spoke to my friend who is a commercial attorney, about filing a class action suit. She suggested that I should file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) under the Online Shopping category. Hopefully, if enough of us complain, they'll pursue action against this group.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

I 💜 Craigslist

I know I've said it before, but I'll say it again: Craigslist rocks! I had big plans to finish the garden shed this month, but I got on a serious—but really overdue—tangent. I've been sifting our massive piles of packed boxes in our basement.

It's been a bit of a horrendous project so far, but it's getting easier. Originally, I was hoping to sell a lot of the stuff, but I've realized that the difference between selling something for a dollar versus giving it away is often days, or weeks, if you can sell it at all.  So, unless something is really valuable, I'm just listing it for free on craigslist. I spent six months trying to sell boxes of virtually brand new clothes and never had one person come take a look. Instead, I had Jeff deliver the six boxes to a homeless shelter and now we can feel good about helping.

I should have had a garage sale this summer, but I never got motivated to get ready for one. Now that I'm inspired to work on this sifting project, I'm just trying to keep my momentum going. I've already used the excuse of waiting for a buyer too many times in years past. Some of these boxes have not been unpacked since 2006, when we originally moved to California. It's past time just to get this stuff gone. This big house has way too much junk in it and I'm ready to clear it out.

I have a few embarrassing photos, but I don't want to post them until we're finished and can post side-by-side with the after photos. Hopefully sometime next week the basement will be more picture-worthy.

Saturday, October 7, 2017

1966: How Mansions Turned into Church and School

As you may recall, the center of Laurelhurst was originally composed of three houses. Since it was reportedly the most "sightly" part of the development, the plan was to have four oversize grand houses with huge yards in that block.
The above design for laying out a block for residence sites at Laurelhurst and drawn by Thomas Hawkes, landscape architect. The idea of C.K. Henry, O.W. Taylor, C.V. Cooper and Dr. H.I. Keeney, owners of the block, was to have the block laid out on a consistent plan and to place the residences and arrange the grounds so as to preserve the beauty of the site. Instead of having unsightly garages on the sidewalks, as is seen in Irvington and other fine residence districts, the owners have decided upon a community garage in the center of the block. The numbers indicate where the residences will be built, as follows: No. 1, C.K. Henry's residence; No. 2, O.W. Taylor's residence; No. 3, C.V. Cooper's residence; No. 4, Dr. H.I. Keeney's residence; No. 5, general garage.

In May, 1910, it looks like they were all in:
Charles K. Henry is having plans prepared for a $15,000 home on Laurelhurst Avenue and Dr. Homer I. Keeney will start in the immediate future to build a $7000 home on this same avenue. Among other residences planned to be erected this Summer are those for Francis Dubois Jr., to cost $5000; W.S. Hurst, a $5000 home; A.E. Kern, $5000; Grant Foster, between $4000 and $5000; H.C. Gresel, $5000; Charles V. Cooper, $10,000; C.S. Russell, $7000; and O.W. Taylor, $10,000

In Jun 1911, apparently he was still planning to build:

The Oregonian 25 Jun 1911 
O.W. Taylor to Build 
O.W. Taylor has had plans made for a fine residence in Laurelhurst. The house will contain seven rooms and a sleeping porch and will be two stories high. H.P. Barnhart prepared the plans and has been given the contract to build the house. The building will cost $5,000.
However, in 1917, I find he has sold a residence at 1035 Davis Street.
The Oregonian, 29 Jul 1917
The home of O.W. Taylor, of the Gearhart Park Land Company, located at 1035 East Davis street, corner of Floral avenue, was sold to J.E. Ellison, manager of the Ellison-White Chautauqua Company, at a reported consideration of $16,000. O.V. Badley acted as the agent in the transaction.
This residence was built a few years ago by Dr. W.A. Wise on two large lots of 250-foot frontage and commanding a pretty view. It contains 12 rooms and is supplemented with a large double garage. The yard has an abundance of flowers and choice foliage.
I'm not really sure what made him back out of building the other house. Perhaps it's because he found another he liked more, or maybe it was a better deal? We'll never know.

In any case, that fourth lot stayed vacant in the center of the development. C.K. Henry sold his house to Mrs. Scott in 1913 and retired to Pasadena, California.
Apparently, in Jun 1914, Laurelhurst company sold the lot to All Saint's Church to build a church.