Friday, September 30, 2011

Embroidered curtain panel finished

Yeah, it's only a start, as there are still eleven more panels to make, but Sharon was happy to finally finish her first curtain panel today. Progress slowed way down when she stopped working on the project all day and only worked on it at night in front of TV. It took nearly a month for this piece. At this rate, it will probably be the end of 2012 before the rest of these curtains are finished! =)

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Arborist Mulch—FREE!

We are really struggling with the mud in the backyard. Every time the dog goes out, she comes back in with mud-encrusted feet. We don't have good technology for dealing with muddy shoes either. So, we've been casting about for at least a temporary solution before all our rugs get ruined.

We had been thinking about buying straw or bark dust. But then Jeff got the clever idea that we should check with tree trimming companies who might be willing to let us have their load. So Sharon contacted several different companies and got on their "list."

We got a call first thing this morning from Treepeople asking us if we wanted a small load? Absolutely! And the best part—it was Free! It is beautiful stuff and was from a cherry tree.
Then, not more than 20 minutes later, we got a call from another tree service, Hedgehog Tree Care, and they had a full load; did we want it? Sure! This next pile was obviously from several jobs and was from a variety of trees and quite a bit less attractive. But it should do the job and we'll keep an eye on the yard and see if we get any new exciting volunteers, like ivy or bamboo.

So now we probably have enough arborist mulch to cover all the mud in the backyard! And we both know what we're doing for the next week!
By end of day, after working on it for 2 to 3 hours, we had managed to move probably half of it to the backyard. We'll probably finish moving the pile by Sunday.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Partial Move-In

While we've still got more than half the storage space to empty once the master bedroom is finished, Jeff decided he wanted to sift the space and dig out our dining room furniture and whatever living room furniture we could easily find. Turns out all of it was packed way in the back! Luckily Jeff and his moving helper, Don, were able to clear a wide aisle down the center and pull the stuff out. The dining room table was a bit of a challenge.

Once we put the furniture in these rooms, they felt very small.We're in the market for a new, smaller couch. This one is too big and too "modern." We'll probably eventually have to go with morris chairs and a loveseat.And the HUGE white bird cage in the corner really doesn't help either; we even removed the wide seed guards to make the cage smaller. This is another piece of ugly we'd like to remedy, but we'll have to live with it for now because pretty wooden cages are expensive. (Found some beautiful cages at Avian Accents, but every single cage is over $1,500! They're probably worth it, but not in the budget right now.)

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Gutters Installed

After the pouring rain yesterday, and some slight water infiltration at the back of the basement, we were quite grateful when the gutter guys showed up this morning. At the recommendation of two other local blogs, we hired Great NW Gutters.

We only got one downspout installed, the rest of the gutters have rain chains. We may end up regretting the one on the back corner, though, because it is so tall. Time will tell. If it doesn't work well in winds, we'll have it replaced with a downspout.

The rain chains are Lotus flowers and were purchased from with a 10% off coupon. Compared to the prices at local stores, they were a bargain!

We provided the rain chains, but the gutter guys were nice enough to hang them for us. Now we have lots of work directing all this water into the rain gardens.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Master Bedroom Stain Ready

The stains have been purchased and Sharon was determined to finish the paint stripping on the master bedroom today! There will probably still be some sanding on this doorway once it thoroughly dries, but we are now ready to move to the next step which, by the way, is plaster patching. Then staining, then painting (if we follow the same steps the professionals used on the downstairs rooms).

As for the stain color, Sharon ended up choosing the least effort solution of using the same colors as the downstairs rooms. It's just too much hassle (and expense) to buy a bunch of cans of stain and try different combos. We like the woodwork downstairs, so the easiest option is to buy the same stain. Though, it turned out the stains were quite expensive and not readily available. Sharon had to call around to several woodworking/paint stores to find the brands. She actually ended up buying one of them online and we should receive it early next week.

Sharon bought the paint this morning. As usual, she chose colors from the Arts & Crafts palette: Hubbard Squash (SW 0044) for the walls. We used the same color in the dining room and entryway downstairs and it's very similar to the color already painted in there. The ceiling and above the picture rail will be done in White Hyacinth (SW 0046).

It's actually a shame we have to repaint this bedroom because someone who previously lived in this house did a nice sponge painting job in there. But, unfortunately, there's too much damage from paint stripping chemical drips and scraper tool marks. Bummer.

Leaded Glass Class: Cutting

Jeff's second week of lead came stained glass class covered cutting and grinding glass. After an overview of the tools and techniques we spent a little time practicing. Then we started in on the glass for our project.
Jeff learned that he has picked up a couple "bad habits" that he worked on breaking: keep his wrist straight while scoring, and move his arms (not wrists) to snap the glass. He also discovered our running pliers are supposed to have little plastic guards on the tip.

Once the pieces were cut to close to the right size, he took them to the grinder...
... and trimmed off any excess.
Now that we have a good fit, we soaked off the pattern paper, marked the piece number directly on the glass, and pinned a little frame down to keep everything in place.
Next week: leading.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Remodel Shopping

Besides watching too much Castle, the last couple of days have been spent putting together shopping lists.

First, plants: We need dozens of plants for our new rain gardens and the Audubon Society has a Native Plant Sale coming up in just over a week. We have been combing through the plant lists trying to match water tolerance with location in the rain gardens. We're also trying not to order too many plants because they add up pretty quickly. It's a fun challenge to try and lay out these planting diagrams.

Second, stains: Sharon ordered stains and shellac for the upstairs bedrooms. We're going to try and finish the woodwork upstairs with shellac; we're planning to make the shellac from dry flakes because it costs about half as much that way. Sharon found an affordable source in Oregon.

Third, paints: Today Sharon discovered Sherwin Williams is having a 40% off sale on their paint this weekend. So now seems like a good time to buy the paint for the upstairs bedrooms. Even with the discount, though, it's pretty astonishing how much 22 gallons of good quality paint and primer cost. ($660!)

Time to get going on projects again. Hopefully we'll be all supplied for a busy and productive winter.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Rain Gardens

Jeff has been busy this week digging rain gardens. On Monday, he dug one for the backyard.

Today he worked on the front yard. For more information about the process, see his explanatory blog post. For this rain garden, he's built a berm along the sidewalk.There are two more small rain gardens to go for the gutters on the side of the house. Unfortunately, one of them needs to get across a driveway. There will be some cement pounding in Jeff's future.

Sharon is busy shopping for plants. The Portland Audubon Society has a native plant sale coming up soon and we need plants for these gardens.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Nearly Done

Just a bit of detail work and some sanding, and it's done. We could have finished today—but we got distracted watching the first disk of the new season of Castle from Netflix. It couldn't be helped.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Project Creep

Sharon found herself upstairs this morning and was clearly channeling her inner perfectionist as she found herself going back over the woodwork again removing spots of paint in crevices.

She also decided the door jamb probably wasn't going to look good once we stained the interior of the bedroom. We had removed part of the paint, but had left some of the exterior hallway side still painted. But we had stripped too much. The stain would have extended out past the closed door. So there was only one thing to do—strip more woodwork.

She discovered one new problem pretty quickly. Our upstairs now sports a number of wired-together smoke alarms. Heat guns and smoke alarms don't pleasantly mix. If we don't figure out some better ventilation, we may have to uninstall these units while we continue stripping paint upstairs. After a couple hours with the heat gun (and the smoke alarms), Sharon decided to call it a day. Hopefully to resume tomorrow.

Though, before she quit, she couldn't resist checking out the wood underneath the paint on the linen closet at the top of the stairs. Yup, it's douglas fir.

Those big doors though aren't original. The doors that once hung there were inset. (You can still see the outline of where the butterfly hinges once were.) So, maybe we'll try to replace the doors someday. But not this year. For now, we'll probably strip what's there and call it good.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Leaded Glass Class: Pattern Prep

Jeff started his Leaded Glass Class yesterday! Here is a quick summary of the process they taught him for preparing the pattern.

First he chose a pattern and used carbon paper to trace two copies of the pattern. One was on regular paper, the other on heavy paper that can stand up to water from the glass grinder.

Then he got to go pick out glass from the scrap box. Always fun.

Next he cut one of the patterns apart with a special pair of scissors which removed a thin strip of paper to allow room for the lead came.

Then they had him glue the pieces on the appropriate pieces of glass. They recommended using Elmer's Washable School Glue, which is supposed to survive the cutting and grinding process.

Stay tuned for Part 2: Glass Cutting next week....

Friday, September 16, 2011

Time to Buy Stain

We've mostly finished the paint stripping in the master bedroom, but somehow we've gotten stalled on the sanding. We're lacking motivation to spend several hours finishing the project. We can't even blame the weather, because there was perfect cool weather this week.
It must be time to buy the stains. Once the stain is sitting there waiting, we'll surely find the motivation to resume work on this room. We are so eager to get moved back upstairs.

Sharon is trying to decide whether we use the same stain colors as the downstairs. We're not sure whether it would be better to lighten it up a bit as the downstairs woodwork is pretty dark.

Basement Bathroom

Our basement bathroom remodel did not go smoothly. Nothing in the room went as planned. Before the remodel, it was this tiny nook in the back corner of the basement. It was dark and a little gross.

Here are the before and planned after floor plans. Once the chimney was removed, the bathroom could expand into the original square space and we would punch out the shower into the basement proper. That was the plan anyway...

Once the crew got into the structure, there were some problems. First, there was this big header beam right where the shower was supposed to be. Oops. That ended up shifting the shower over about 6", which then threw off all the adjacent doorways and the nice tile plan. Second, the plumber said we had to reverse the sink and the toilet.

While we had originally been hoping to use salvaged fixtures down there, Sharon was obviously too picky because she didn't find anything satisfactory when we went shopping at the salvage places. Also, she had expected to put in a more-period pedestal sink, but then realized there was absolutely no storage in that bathroom, and no space to add any, so decided we'd better go with a sink in a cabinet.

At the time during the remodel when we were supposed to be making all these decisions, we were in school and also both sick! So, we simply asked CDR to skip installing the toilet and sink; we still wanted them to finish the shower. But what they heard was "don't finish the bathroom," so they pulled all of the finish out of the job. Imagine our surprise at the end of the job when after the tile and trim they say they're done. You are? But, what about our shower?!As we talked out the resolution, they were good sports. They allowed us to add back in the shower door installation at cost and we went with the cheapest bid. That was installed today. It's not gorgeous, but it will do.We would also provide the rest of the hardware, i.e. the grab bars and whatever other shower accessories we needed. Those were ordered and we received them last week. They're just waiting for the install.

As for the rest of the bathroom, we've had time now to think about our plans. Sharon has been poking around looking for a vanity with a craftsman look that will blend with the rest of the woodwork in the house. We don't need it to match, but we would prefer stained wood over painted. Actually, Sharon found an acceptable one online with a craftsman feel on a really good sale—but by the time she got around to trying to order (a couple days later) it was gone. She had not realized it had been discontinued and they were clearing out the end of their stock. Oh well.

While ordering the rest of the hardware for the bathroom, Sharon went ahead and ordered a new Toto water-efficient toilet, a matching undermount sink and Kohler Fairfax faucet. She also found an amazing deal on a stained wood toilet seat and ordered that as well. We still need to figure out the cabinet and countertop. Maybe we'll still find something at a salvage place; we'll keep looking.Today, Jeff successfully bought an inexpensive Marmoleum remnant off craigslist large enough for that bathroom. We're not sure what the color is, maybe Van Gogh or barley, but it will do.
So, yet another winter project for us!