Friday, December 28, 2012

Quilt Score

Though I used to be an eBay addict, I rarely spend much time shopping there anymore. The listing fees are much lower on craigslist. =)  But, I do have a few searches working for me.

In mid-December I got an update about an Iris quilt and I was shocked to see this for a starting bid of $94.99 plus shipping. Last October, I blogged about wanting to make this quilt design. I don't think I can even buy the fabric and batting for less than $100.

I immediately placed a bid and was surprised—and excited—when a couple days later I won the quilt (on our anniversary). It came in the mail today and is in even better shape than I was expecting.
This quilt is probably only twin size and we have a queen bed, but it's a lovely decor item.

Making this quilt pattern in queen size is still on my long-term To Do list, but I can happily display this one for now.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Personalized Postage Stamps

We don't qualify as mature adults right now. Jeff and I have been addicted to a video game  pretty much since the party. We've just managed to do minimal cleaning and cooking and the rest of the time is goofing off down in front of the game.

One of the few things I have managed to get done this month is to put together our latest winter newsletter. I don't get it done very often--maybe every couple of years--but I guess I was feeling like we've accomplished a lot and I wanted to share with the family (who don't follow the blog).

We checked with the post office for holiday stamps and all they had were boring santa ones. I wanted something wintery, and not too religious. The post office told us to buy online. We actually found some lovely options with period art we almost bought, but then I decided I would play around with the custom stamp.

You can basically design your own stamps and buy them from How fun is that? I just had to do it!
Too bad we cannot buy forever stamps, otherwise I would have bought a ton of them. Unfortunately, we use maybe 10 stamps a year, not including holiday letters. So, I only bought enough for this particular mailing. I didn't calculate the premium I paid; it's possible I don't want to know. But this was just too fun to pass up.

Unfortunately, now I have to wait to mail my letters until these arrive; bad planning on my part.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Goofing Off

We've been totally goofing off this week. Jeff is enjoying playing an Xbox Oblivion game and I've been goofing off reading and playing on my computer. I should be sewing . . .

Anyway, while surfing on craigslist, I found someone selling a stack of 1x12 fir boards salvaged from a 1922 building. I emailed him and he offered to deliver for an extra $10 and we agreed. Since I hadn't actually seen the stack in person, I didn't realize quite how much of it there was.

Some of the boards were actually longer than our garage and we had to cut them down so we could fit them in and still close the garage door.

The stack is surely more than 2' high. I may actually have to re-sell some of it, because I'm not sure what we'll do with this much wood.

Though, if these boards clean up nice with a planer, I may have to redesign my closet interior to use this wood instead of plywood. If not, we'll probably use a bunch of it to build shelving in our front storage area.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

25th Anniversary Tomorrow

We were married on December 19, 1987 so tomorrow is our 25th wedding anniversary. We've decided to spend the day—at home—living like we were back in 1987. That means: no internet, no lap tops, no Netflix, no DVDs, no digital cameras, no Xbox, etc.

There will likely be some exceptions; we'll probably still use our iPods for playing pre-1987 music because it is not convenient to play CDs. (They're all packed and in storage.)

We have a ton of books so we should be able to amuse ourselves without the electronics. I suspect we'll enjoy a day of reading by the fire, especially if the weather is cold and wet.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Survived the Party

It seems odd to pass over the house's 100th Birthday party open house and not even mention how it went. I think it went pretty well. We were ready only with the amazing help of my father, Lloyd, and my stepmother, Maxine. We surely never would have been ready through our own efforts, without hiring outside help.

My father arrived and quickly hooked up our washer and dryer and installed a light fixture in the guest bedroom. I'm excited to have the laundry machines upstairs! (I guess I haven't taken a picture of them yet after they were hooked up. They're up in our back enclosed sun porch.)

Then, on Friday my Dad installed all the new door hardware throughout the house. At one point in his career he was a locksmith, so his skill at fine-tuning mortise locks is excellent. Even so, it still took several hours. (On Sunday, he also installed a deadbolt on our new garage and started installing our new solid brass hinges.)

Maxine worked pretty much since she walked through the door on Thursday until Saturday, cleaning the house. With her help, the house was quite respectable by the time noon rolled around on Saturday. Thank you Maxine!

Jeff, on the other hand, spent three days in the kitchen prepping the food for the party. All was quite delicious and there was plenty of food. I don't have a good picture of all the things he served, but here is a photo from early in the open house.
Unfortunately, Saturday was a very rainy day, so the house was not looking its best in the dreary overcast light. But we turned on all the lights and had quite a few visitors drop in. We got lots of nice compliments and it felt wonderful to show what we'd accomplished in 2½-years. Thanks, especially, to all my blogger buddies who dropped in for a visit; it was so wonderful to meet you all in person.

I didn't manage to take any photos as I was busy visiting and giving tours. But my friend, Storm, and my father took a few pictures of the rooms. Here are the best of them.
Master Bedroom
Guest Bedroom
Linen Cabinet
Living Room
Den looking toward Dining Room
Den Area (also called Parlor)
Dining Room Built-in China Cabinet

Friday, December 14, 2012

Finishing Up the Details

It's always feels like a miracle when my father and stepmother come and visit. They are a mighty duo and they help keep us on task (and off Netflix). =)

My father spent today finishing up the final details in the bedrooms, like installing door hardware and adjusting hinges so doors close properly. He, with a tiny bit of help from me measuring, has the new handrail installed!
And Maxine and I spent many hours cleaning, cleaning, CLEANING! We've had to vacuum virtually every horizontal surface in the house because they were covered in dust.

I also discovered a new cleaning product. The last couple of days I've been like an excited little kid running around using my new brass polish. My contractor gave me a bottle of Liberty Metal Polish last year when I griped that folks had left fingerprints on our unlacquered brass light fixtures, but I didn't actually get around to trying the stuff until this week. I'm not sure where to buy it, but my contractor bought the stuff at Rejuvenation.

Anyway, the hardware in our kitchen was looking very tarnished and splotchy—it looked disappointingly old. I spent a couple hours cleaning it all up, and it looks literally like new. (Too bad I didn't take before and after pictures.) Now I've been running around the house looking for brass hardware to clean.

Our open house is tomorrow. I had originally envisioned having the house all decked out in Christmas and Jeff and I wearing 1912 period clothing. I totally failed on both those plans. The entryway project delayed completion at least a couple of months, not to mention my three weeks of procrastinating.

Anyway, we're lucky to have gotten moved back in for the party. Christmas decorations will just have to wait. Oh well.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Bedrooms Unpacked

Our bedrooms seemed pretty spacious when they were empty, but now that we've got all the furniture moved in, things are, shall we say, "cozy." This old house just wasn't built to accommodate queen size beds.

In both rooms, we had to rotate the bed so it was in front of the window in order to have enough space for the end tables next to it. This wasn't my first choice, but it will have to work because we won't be down-grading to full-size beds.
I was pretty excited to get to hang our monster tapestry back up!
You can't get a picture head-on because the hallway isn't wide enough, but here's mostly what it looks like.
I'd actually like to hang it on the opposite wall over the staircase, but that would involve two people and ladders, so we'll go with this spot for now.

My father and step-mother arrive in the next hour, so I'd better get back to cleaning.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Moving Up In the World

At long last, we got to move out of the basement and into the upstairs bedroom.

It was such a relief to have beautiful weather today; I actually saw some sun. I had imagined a pretty bad day with pouring rain.

The movers spent something like 5 hours moving our stuff from storage and rearranging furniture within the house. This is how the master bedroom looked when they left for the day.
Then we spent a couple hours putting the master bedroom together. This evening it looks like this.
As usual, the picture isn't very good because we didn't finish until after dark and I had to adjust the exposure to lighten it up.

Since Jeff has been sick this week, he was pretty wiped out after working on the master bedroom, so the guest room still looks like this. I guess we'll finish that tomorrow.

Our washer and dryer also moved upstairs into the back sleeping porch. They're not hooked up yet, so it will be a few days before we can do laundry again.
The worst part of today was the movers accidentally scratched our newly refinished floors—right at the top of the stairs where it is oh so visible!
Our floor refinisher is going to come out tomorrow and take a look and give us an idea of what it will take to fix it. I hope it doesn't mean taking that bit of floor all the way back to the sanding.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Ready or Not, the Movers Are Coming

I spent a couple hours today finishing up the final tasks to prepare the upstairs bedrooms so we can move in tomorrow. First, I touched up messed up spots in the frieze.

Then I, finally, stained the door in the guest bedroom out onto the sleeping porch. (Sorry the photo sucks. That one overhead light in the room just doesn't cut it for photos at night. I'll have to get a better picture during the day.)
I didn't get the door shellacked because I want to give the stain time to thoroughly dry, but I've done the messy part so I should be able to finish after the furniture is in the room.

We've also been packing up our "bedroom" down in the basement so the furniture can be moved upstairs. And we're planning to do some rearranging of other pieces now that we can.

I'm hoping tomorrow with the movers will go OK, but I'm sure we've forgotten some things. I checked the weather forecast and there is a good chance we won't be moving in the pouring rain, so that is good, at least.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Guest Bedroom Stenciled

I was all set to stencil whatever design you guys chose for me, but it turns out with all the comments and emails, I ended up with a tie between the Pansy & Morning Glory and the Moonflower. Initially, I planned to put on the bigger Pansy & Morning Glory; I even put up the registration marks yesterday and sprayed the stencils with the adhesive. But, this morning, when I went up to stencil, I couldn't bring myself to start.

I guess I always sort of preferred the Moonflower design, but I felt it was a little small. Then I poked around my saved pictures again and found this one from a 1910 Sherwin Williams painting brochure. It even looks like a very similar stencil.
From "Your Home and Its Decoration," by Sherwin Williams Co., 1910.
This is when I gave myself permission to use the smaller stencil.
I had to get a bit creative at the corners.
And it is hard to decide what to do about the back wall ceiling. It is finished at an angle, so I think it would look funny stenciled as the design would appear shorter when viewed from the front. So, for now, I've left it blank.
Finally, but for a bit of paint touch up, we're all ready for the movers on Monday. It's time to start cleaning.

Update, more than a month later. I found the original source of the stencil I used in the guest bedroom. I found it shown in a 1915 Wards paint catalog. I flipped the stencil horizontally from the way it was shown in the advertisement because I thought it looked like it had flowers, which should be facing upright. =)

Monday, December 3, 2012

Auditioning Stencils

I spent a few hours today trying out some stencils in different color combinations for the guest room. I don't know why, but this is absolutely my least favorite part of stenciling stuff. I am so paralyzed by indecision, it takes me forever to come up with my final selection. Which do you guys think?
Pansy & Morning Glory
Rose Trio in Reds
Rose Trio in Yellows
I like the Moonflower and actually have a period drawing for this one—but it seems a little small for the size of the frieze.

I don't have a lot of time to pick this time, though, because movers come on Monday to move the furniture back in. I have until then to conveniently stencil the guest bedroom.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

My First Stenciled Frieze

I had a busy weekend stenciling the frieze in our master bedroom. I was probably up and down the ladder a zillion times—OK, not that many, but it felt like it. I'm exhausted.
The particular stencil design I used was a three-layer design—Mission Gatsby Border Stencil with Flower & Leaves—from American Home Stencils.

I followed the suggestions from Amy Miller in her book "Stenciling the Arts & Crafts Home." Whenever I had questions or problems, I'd go back to the book to figure out what she suggested; it worked every time. I recommend her book without reservation.

I started the process by applying masking tape bits and marking on the registration spots. This was a pretty long process because once I finished a wall I might decide to move it over an inch or two to make the design suit the wall better and then I'd have to redo it. There is really only so much you can figure out just with measurements. Needless to say, it was not a fun process. But, once I was done, I could turn my attention to applying the different stencil layers without a lot of thought.

I decided to do each stencil layer separately, so I did the full circuit around the room before applying the next layer. (Normally, when working at a table I do all the layers on one repeat before moving on.) It was a total of 44 repeats of the design and took about 4 hours per circuit. So, it took about 16 hours over the weekend.
Stencil First Pass
Stencil Second Pass
Stencil Third Pass
I have a few smudges to clean up/paint over once it all dries. (They were not due to problems with the stencil, but from getting it on my hands from the paintstiks and not realizing it until I got a spot on the wall.)

As an aside, while cruising through my photo files, I found a good inspiration photo for my master bedroom in Sherwin William's 1910 "Your Home and Its Decoration" style guide.