Friday, July 31, 2015

Latest Bathroom Sketchup Files

I haven't had much time to play in SketchUp this week as we've been really busy dealing with canning and other neglected projects. But I did take the time to add all the fiddly bullnose tile pieces on my master bathroom sketchup files.
Now that I won that tile auction, there will definitely be tweaks. But at least we won't have a shortage of subway tile as one of the problems. We might even change the tile around the shower so we tile all the way to the ceiling.

We're getting really close to being able to start this remodel. We should have the basement bathroom mostly finished by the end of next week. Then I just need to find a tile installer and a glass shower enclosure installer. I've lined up the woodworker who made the basement cabinet to make the master bath cabinet, but I may get a couple more quotes.

I'm relieved that this week the Mac Store was able to retrieve all my old files off my dead old MacBook. In particular, I got all the photos of our house pre-purchase and during the remodel. And, yes, I did have a backup, but somehow that drive went astray during the post-remodel clean up. I would have found it eventually, but I didn't feel like waiting or spending that long looking for it. I'm now working on making new backups in several places for future.

The last couple of days I've been trying to get my stencil cutting plan up and running. I had the challenge of getting a new operational copy of the cutter software (since it was on the old computer) and now I'm trying to learn it. But it just won't import my image files, even though they are one of the alleged acceptable file types. So, instead I'm now trying to run them through CorelDraw first to convert the file type to something that does work. It's a little frustrating, as I'd really like to stencil the basement bathroom with an historic stencil design that I've cut, and not one I've purchased. I'm spending a lot of time trying to relearn CorelDraw as it's been years since I touched it. Sigh. I suppose it's good that there's so much I want to learn.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Amazing Tile Deal

I got the most fantastic tile score tonight!! I'm so excited.

Sadly, Designs in Tile is going out of business. They made some beautiful hand painted tiles. I was bummed when I heard they were quitting, but I was very fortunate in my timing in looking for subway tile. I guess their tile has been on sale for a while, but the last of it was all listed for auction in large lots this week. I was fortunate to be able to win all the auctions I was hoping to. Unfortunately, I am also getting a LOT of tile I don't need, but that is a problem easily remedied.

I recently called Subway Ceramics and they told me reproduction subway field tile runs $17/sq ft. American Restoration Tile told me it would cost $25/sq ft. So, it would have cost us over $1600 for just the field tile for our master bathroom, not including any specialty trim pieces, borders or shipping.

Tonight I paid just over $3/sq ft, and if you adjust the total for the amount we actually need for our project, it is still only $4.25/sq ft. Because I was so lucky on the field tile price wise, I was able to bid on several of the misc. trim piece and bullnose auctions. So, I am hoping that in the end, we will have enough pieces to tile our entire bathroom. The grand total for everything is just over $1,000. And that includes tons of border pieces, and colored trim pieces.

Of course, the rub is we have to drive down to Mt. Shasta, California on Saturday morning to pick up all the tile. We're going to have to borrow the Ford Ranger back from our friends we sold it to, and I'm actually a little concerned about all the tile fitting in the bed of the truck. I guess we shall see how it goes. I suppose we can always get a one-way trailer rental if we absolutely have to. It will still be a good deal.

And now we have to find an installer. I don't even trust myself to install it to my standards. I don't know why I'm so picky about evenly installed tile, but I am.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Preserving Peaches

I was about to title this post canning peaches, but it has never made sense to me why it is called canning when we are using jars! Maybe we should call it jarring peaches?

Jeff and I went off on an unscheduled adventure with friends yesterday to Sauvie Island. Sauvie Island is where Portlanders go when they want to buy locally-grown fresh produce in bulk quantities. We came home with 40 pounds of peaches, 20 pounds of heirloom tomatoes, 25 pounds of red beets and a few other vegetables in smaller quantities.
Today, Jeff decided he wanted to start off the day by defrosting the freezer before we made a bunch of new containers to go into it. In the process, he rediscovered a bunch of food he wants to use right away. Let's just say I'm going to be happy about having pie and baked ham for the next several weeks. :D

We processed two batches of jars of sliced peaches, which was more than one box of fruit. I don't normally talk about how to can. With so many excellent websites out there, I don't see the point of adding my meager skills to the pack. But I will point out a website I frequently visit when I do set about doing some preserving, called It's a great resource for general recipes and photos about how to preserve food. I've been visiting the website for years, as I mostly learned these skills after I was an adult and my family lived too far away to teach me.
The other box, we've sliced and Jeff is making Peach Salsa again. We're big fans of Trader Joe's Spicy, Smoky Peach Salsa and we're trying to come up with a recipe we can make ourselves. Jeff found a recipe a couple years ago that was pretty close, but it was just a little too hot, so we're going to give it a try this year with a little less HOT. This year he is trying this recipe, mostly. (He never follows recipes exactly.)
Update: We tried the salsa with our dinner tonight and it's really good. I think we found our recipe. :D Jeff posted his version of the recipe at his food blog here.
We're going to do another batch of the salsa. It's really good and it will be nice to have it through the winter.

Wunderful List

I found a new To Do list application, called Wunderlist, that I've only been using for a couple days but I'm already a big fan. While I don't really like that it's online (and therefore unusable without internet), the ability to share the To Do list with Jeff makes up for it.

Even though we could build task lists on our MacBooks, I was never happy with how to deal with recurring tasks. Wunderlist makes them super easy. Once you finish a task, it automatically reenters the next occurrence on your list. Now we just need to go through and enter all the recurring tasks in our lives. :D

I've also been digging through all my assorted lists and consolidating them in this one place. After such a long break from house projects, you can be sure we had a lot of projects go astray. I'm now getting my projects back on track.

For the three days I've been using Wunderlist, it has already helped. When I have a little bit of time to kill, I can just go look at my list and see if there is any quick task I can fit in. This morning, I had about half an hour before we went off on our day's adventure; just enough time to finish painting the basement window frame.
Or, if I don't feel like doing a task (like staining the fence) having the huge list helps me get off my ass to do it. I see how many things I have coming up and know I can't afford to not finish today's project. So, I am now making pretty steady progress on projects.
The next big project in our plan is the master bathroom. I am currently trying to find reproduction period tile, which will surely be the most expensive part of the project. Once we have tile figured out, we'll probably prepare for demo. Especially now that the basement bathroom is nearly operational. :)

Thursday, July 23, 2015

More Projects

Jeff has been working on digging out the floor of the pergola when the weather is cool enough.
I've finished staining the door for the sewing room. Once it finishes drying I'll start putting on the shellac.
I painted the basement bathroom again, but when I removed the masking tape I discovered one of the rolls of blue tape I used was not a good roll; it didn't have good adhesion. There was some bleed through on the woodwork so I'm going to have to do a little bit of paint clean up, which really sucks. It's not my highest priority right now.
I'm hoping now Jeff will hire his friend and they'll install the cabinet and marmoleum flooring. I still need to stain some shoe molding for both the basement and sewing room.

If we want to install the sink and faucet in this bathroom, we will have to cut a temporary plywood top for the sink cabinet because I'm planning to have the soapstone cut for it when we have the soapstone cut for the master bathroom remodel. It won't be pretty, but at least we'll have another operational bathroom during the remodel of the master bathroom.

Basement Bath Painted

After it dries (and I get some sleep) I'm going to put on another coat. This feels great to get another project done. :) And for those who want to know, the color is Hubbard Squash from Sherwin Williams Arts & Crafts color palette.
I'm going to paint the window frame with the rust color, but I need to clean it up first. It's pretty filthy.

I've got so many projects in flight, it's hard to keep track of all of them. :D
I also did the first coat of stain on the sewing room door. I'll put on the second later today.

I still need to apply a second coat of stain on the fence, but we've had rain threatening this week so I haven't finished that yet.

We're probably going to hire the mason who repaired and repointed our brickwork back in 2010 to remodel the brick wall around our front porch. Jeff wants to remove the unsafe step that is just floating over 2' off the ground and extend the bricks to the house. Once that is finished, we'll install his charging station for his car.
Finding bricks that even sort of closely match is going to be a challenge though. I guess modern bricks are not this size or color. With any luck, we'll find some salvaged brick that will work and we'll be able to proceed on the job.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015


I stained the door to my sewing room too dark. :( I stained it at the same time as the closet and it also ended up being too dark.

I left it hanging in the doorway since I finished that room to see if I could live with it. Nope, I can't. It will bother me every time I see it during the next 15 years we plan to live here. So, I figured this was a problem easily solved by 80 grit sandpaper.

It doesn't look so dark in the sunlight, but trust me, it looked very dark in that closed hallway.
As expected, sanding the profile was a pain, but luckily we have lots of handy contour sanding bits. I think this is good enough to stain now. I don't believe I have to get it back to pristine douglas fir.

Update on Friday: It's still a little darker, but it's better than it was.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Basement Bath Shellacked

Stained, Shellacked and Ready to Paint! I'll probably let the shellac dry overnight before I apply masking tape again. I probably should have left up the masking, but I really wanted to see if I had any bleedthrough. Luckily, I had almost none and I didn't find any grout that was stained. Yeah!

Oh, and the painted crown looks just fine. Painting worked! We may use this option for the rest of the MDF the contractor installed.
I'll probably put a 3rd coat of shellac on the cabinet before we install it.

Struggling with SketchUp

Planning a garage and fence in SketchUp was much easier. LOL

I have spent hours and hours trying to plan out our master bathroom remodel in SketchUp. It took me a couple hours to "build" the cabinet and now I've spent hours and hours (all night, really) laying out the tile. Probably it would be faster if I did a bunch of tutorials to learn how to use SketchUp better and then return to the planning because it's very easy to mess things up.

I plan to add some tile above the design, but I haven't decided what yet. And I still have to figure out the shower that goes in the corner.

This is, obviously, just a starting point.

And the proposed shower plan a few hours later. Not sure if this is doable, but we will try.
I plan to edge all this tile with a trim piece (probably a bull nose), but I really don't feel like drawing all these little tile pieces in. I'm hoping we can get colored tiles for the edge pieces.

I prepared this plan mostly to give the subs a good idea of what we want. I don't think I have to add every tiny detail. At least I hope not, because this is tedious as hell.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Painting Cheat

For economy, the basement bathroom was originally planned to be painted. But when I saw the contractor installed pretty decent douglas fir, I instead decided to stain the woodwork. I went in there all psyched to stain it, then I discovered the ONE piece of MDF in the crown molding. I was trying to decide if I was going to replace the piece or simply paint it.
At the time, I was able to find a paint that matched the stain pretty well. But I never got back into the bathroom to finish it. Today I finally tried out my painting plan. I think it turned out pretty well. I'm pretty sure once this is shellacked, it will not be obvious that that piece is painted.
I'm still a little pissed off about that awful paint grade door the contractor installed. We would have chosen a different door if he had bothered to ask us what we wanted. Staining is not an option, so I will have to paint it. I may paint it with the glossy can of paint we used for the stair risers. I believe it is tinted with the same color as the ceilings, White Hyacinth.

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Friday, July 17, 2015

Note to Self: Stain the Wood BEFORE Building the Fence

I finished the first coat of opaque stain on the fence. Holy shit, staining around the diamonds is a pain in the ass. I had hoped I could be done after this first coat, but the tannin staining is pretty bad in some areas.
My current plan is to quickly apply a second coat and call it good enough. :)

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Master Bath Shopping

It rained this morning so I didn't get back to staining today. Instead we started shopping for our bathroom remodel project. It was not terribly successful, though I did find a couple things I wanted. I totally failed on finding a local source for square edge reproduction subway tile. I was hoping, but we'll probably have to order online from Subway Ceramics again.

Jeff and I have settled on a tile design for the bathroom, if we can find the right tile.

We stopped at a glass installer at the recommendation of the bath store to see if they could fabricate a shower enclosure like this for us. They cannot, though they did refer us to a couple other glass businesses and I will try them before I give up.
Shower enclosure from 1907 Mott's Plumbing catalog

I found a style of shower hardware I LOVE. I totally want this. It is the Perrin and Rowe, Traditional Exposed Shower Set. It is made in the UK. The smaller removable shower head slides up and down the bar so the height can be adjusted.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Fence Staining Started

I applied the first coat of stain on the fence, but I still have a lot of detail work still to do on the diamonds. Wow, this sucks. I can't help repeating in my head how much easier this would have been if I stained the wood BEFORE we built the fence, as originally planned. I let that beautiful new cedar wood and rain distract from the plan. Doh.
Jeff also went over the pergola with the stain again and touched up light spots, so that is basically done now. :) Once we clear away some of the overgrown bushes, we'll take better photos.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

2015 Project Wish List

It's been a while since I had the confidence to publish a project list. The last was in April 2014 and I've copied the list below. As predicted, we didn't get many of the projects done. LOL

And apparently the sewing room wasn't even on the list. Oh well. I added it because I really like to check stuff off. ✔︎
  1. Empty storage
  2. Plan and build pergola at back patio (staining now)
  3. Clean bricks and install back patio
  4. Install backyard path
  5. Put in rain barrel behind garage
  6. Plan and build raccoon/rat-safe chicken coop
  7. Plan master bathroom remodel
  8. Prime/Paint/Stain basement bathroom
  9. Install flooring/fixtures in basement bathroom
  10. Strip/Stain/Shellac/Paint sewing room
At this point, I would feel more comfortable with a shorter list. There's no way we'd get all those done. Here is my current list for the rest of the year:
  1. Refinish floor in the sewing room
  2. Move back into the sewing room
  3. Stain side fence & pergola
  4. Modify front porch  & install hybrid charging station
  5. Plan & start master bathroom remodel
  6. Waste weeks of my life in Star Citizen (I'm bound to at least get this one done. :D )
It would also be nice to do these projects, but I'm not going to hold my breath. But, just in case our momentum can carry us through:
  1. Prime/Paint/Stain/Shellac basement bathroom
  2. Install flooring/fixtures in basement bathroom
  3. Clean bricks and install "floor" under pergola
  4. Install backyard path

Pergola Stained

Jeff got the first coat done today! As a reminder, we are using opaque white stain, not paint.
We should cut back that bush that is blocking the view, but it's covered with tasty berries. Once berry season is over, we'll chop it back severely and take some better photos.

I went out to start staining the fence, but I noticed the top board was still black from being under the black walnut tree, so I ended up scrubbing it down instead. Hopefully it will be dry enough tomorrow to start staining.

Monday, July 13, 2015

Master Bath Planning

The master bathroom shower plumbing is just about kaput. It's been hobbling along since we moved in, but this week it plugged up to the point it's not draining. Jeff is planning to try to snake it, but I think it's a bigger problem than that. I'd hate to ignore the problem until we start seeing water stains on the living room ceiling.

We therefore need to turn our attention to finally finishing this bathroom. The timing sort of stinks with the new car purchase, but really this is the LAST room in the house we have to finish. Once we do this, our remodel plan above ground will be DONE. (We still want to remodel the basement family room/gaming lair, but that's a plan for another year at this point.)

I've been cruising around my Pinterest boards to rediscover my master bath inspiration pictures. We'll have to do this job on the cheap, so I doubt we'll be hiring a general contractor to manage this job.
That means it will probably take months and months given my recent experience of getting ahold of contractors. Sigh. At least we have a shower in the basement to tide us over in the meantime.

We'll be borrowing heavily from the style of the main floor bath. We just need to adapt it for a shower. And I'm definitely going to be putting in a tile floor. This is the one I really like.

Did I say cheap? Well, you know what we mean. Cheap for us. LOL

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Pressure Washing Exterior Woodwork

Now that we've finished the sewing room, our next project is to finish staining the pergola and side fence. I regret not staining the wood for the fence before we built it, but the wood was just so pretty, it was tough to put an opaque white stain on it. Then, when we installed the pergola, it started raining while we were staining and we didn't get everything done — it's finally time.

Today, Jeff is working on pressure washing them so they're nice and clean before we start staining. Thanks Jeff!
Yeah, the yard got a little overgrown once we got rid of the chickens. We really didn't realize how much of the vegetation they prevented. Hopefully we'll get the yard cleaned up too. It's gotten pretty overgrown during the two years of neglect.

Ultimately, we plan to finish the floor of the pergola with a mix of urbanite (concrete chunks) and leftover salvaged bricks. Something like this. Maybe not that fancy. LOL

Friday, July 10, 2015

Sewing Room Stencilled!

I'm not sure why, but last night at 9PM I suddenly wanted to stencil my sewing room. I got thru 2/3rds of it and sat down for a bit to rest my feet and promptly fell asleep. I woke up 5 hours later to dry paint and dry brushes. :D
It's mostly finished now.
I have one more flower I need to add next to the door, but I need to clean the stencil and flip it over first. I also have a bit of paint touch up to do once it dries; I had paint on my fingers and accidentally smeared some on the wall.

Update later: All done :)