Friday, September 17, 2021

Making Progress

I've been working pretty steadily on my stained glass project and I think I'm on track to finish by the end of the month. I'm finding the closer I get to the end, the easier it is to motivate myself to work on it. 

This piece is going to suck! It will probably take hours of grinding to get it right.

Tuesday, September 14, 2021

Dream Basement Plan

I spent a couple days playing in SketchUp again. The plan isn't as complete as I would like because my version is so old I can't download the fun free downloads. 

We have a big job ahead of us getting rid of all the extra stuff that will no longer fit. LOL

Since we still have a TON of douglas fir in our garage, we are going to try and build that media cabinet behind the TV.
The shelves are double-sided. The front side is the right depth for DVDs and the backside is a little deeper for the storage closet. The right side open shelves are for the home theater gear and our printer.

We're working up the plan with Tim Austin (the guy who built our garage) and he is expecting to be able to start in about two months. I'm crossing my fingers.

Tuesday, September 7, 2021

More Stained Glass

We are going to try and fix up our basement this winter so we're going to need to move out of it fairly soon; a project I am definitely not looking forward to.

So we are making another go at finishing our heraldic stained glass. I would like to finish it this month so we won't have to package it up again. I got in about four hours today.
We've gotten to the fiddly tiny pieces in the turtle's head but we're making good progress every day. If I keep at it, I will definitely be able to finish it this month if only I can avoid getting distracted by some quilting project. LOL

Saturday, August 28, 2021

So Much Purging

We have spent weeks sifting old boxes. On the bright side, opening 15-year old boxes is like going to the store and getting new stuff without paying. It's also a lot easier to get rid of stuff we haven't touched for so long.

We've filled up the car twice this past week to get rid of stuff. And I've had a parade of people coming by to pick up free stuff. I love our neighborhood Buy Nothing lists.

Some of the mess remaining in the basement is stuff that needs to go in for recycling. It will hang out until we get our truck back from the body shop. Some uninsured moron decided to hit it last week. The front bumper was totally crushed in.
The living room is still a mess, but it does look better than it did.
Here's how it looked on Aug 19.
Here's how it looks today. 6 more days to get this cleaned up.

Sunday, August 22, 2021

Finishing the Basement

I don't know if I've mentioned it here on this blog, but last month I ordered a Handiquilter long arm with a 12' frame. So, now I need a space that is 14'x7' to set it up. Even though this house is really quite big in total square footage, most of the rooms are pretty small by modern standards so there is really only one good place to set it up, the basement family room. 

I've been slowly sifting and downsizing during the pandemic, but now I am finally getting thrown into high gear. I am so looking forward to having a quilt studio down in the basement.

For folks who have followed us for a while, you'll know our basement is like a dungeon. There are some windows, but not very many, and mostly they are under bump-outs, so they don't provide much extra light. And there are only a couple of single-light bulb ceiling lights. 

We're planning to hire Tim Austin again to help us finish the space. (He's the guy who built our garage for us.) I'm hoping he can help us get the room wired up for better lighting and some decent outlets and I'm hoping to replace the battle-scarred sheetrock ceiling with some sort of panel system, probably something along these lines. In the old days, I had big plans to makeover the basement and make it beautiful, now I'll be satisfied with bright and comfortable.

Ideally, I would like to get the work done before I take delivery on the long arm, so we're going get started as soon as Tim is available, which is about two months. That will certainly provide a good deadline for finishing that stained glass project and cleaning out the space.

This is the area I am planning to turn into the quilt studio. 

The goal is to move the workout gear into the front storage area. We're trying to empty and collapse three racks. We've been making good progress on the project.

Friday, August 20, 2021

Stair Railing Progress

Our forecast calls for nice cool weather for several days so it seems like a good time to finally get this railing installed. We made good progress this afternoon. 

We have a couple more hours of work to install the outer boards and the flat upper portion. Then I'll have to touch up the paint.

We also still need to route the edges of the board that goes flat on top, but it will be nice to have most of it finished by the end of the weekend.

Thursday, August 19, 2021

Sifting Stuff Again

We are going to have out-of-town guests over Labor Day so we're trying to get the upstairs bedrooms cleaned up. They still had big piles of boxes sitting around that had been disgorged when we cleared out the closet to build in the cabinetry.

(I haven't given up on the stained glass. I am definitely planning to finish it this year, but our weather has been so hot that I really can't spend all day down in the freezing basement and then go up to bed in the unseasonably hot upstairs bedrooms. I don't get a lot of sleep when the weather is consistently over 100℉. We really need to get a bed down in the basement before next summer.)

Anyway, I have been trying to talk myself into cleaning upstairs, but it turns out I like quilting more than I like cleaning. LOL 

Today, I decided to try something drastic. I asked Jeff to help me carry all the piles of stuff lying around in the bedrooms down to the living room so I could get it all in one place. I'm hoping it will make it easier to sift. Plus, it has the advantage of being located in a cooler area of the house.

It's quite a lot when you get it all in one place. I have two weeks to get this mess cleaned up. =)

Saturday, August 7, 2021

Day 3 - Slow Progress

I've been trying to split my days between sewing and working on the heraldic stained glass. Progress has gotten pretty slow as I'm having to refit quite a few pieces because we changed to using lead cames. 

We're actually trying a crazy experiment; we're going to solder the animals with copper foil and the diamonds with lead came. I don't know if it will work but I looked around and it might. I didn't really want to lose the fine detail on the animals, but the diamonds are just straight lines. It may turn out to be a disaster, but I hope not.

I finished another (diagonal) row today. The next row will take quite a bit longer as I need to refit many of the body pieces. Hopefully, I won't have to cut any new ones. 

I'll just keep plugging away at this project. I'd like to finish it this summer.

Thursday, August 5, 2021

Stained Glass Again

In an effort to finish old stained glass projects so we can sell off the extra glass to clear space down in our basement, we are finally working on our old heraldic stained glass project we started in 2008! I thought about just abandoning this project because we're not active in SCA anymore, but I still like it and it would lovely to hang this up as a memento. We played a lot with SCA for more than a decade.

We dug through all the glass in the basement and I could not find any more of that clear glass I originally used, nor could I find a close match. So, ultimately I decided to replace it with a glass I had enough of. It's a bummer because now I have to repeat all that work shaping the glass around the rabbit, but I'll be much happier with the finished project.
We also decided to change this project from copper foil to leaded came. We don't have enough of the copper foil tape left to finish this project but we have a ton of leaded glass channels because when we made the panels for the cabinets we had to buy an entire box. We will lose some of the fine details around the paws, but we won't have to spend any more money on this project.
I hope we can finish this project this time; 13 years is more than enough to be hauling this around. And once I get this finished, I can turn my attention to other projects, like this panel for the front door and repairing a broken pane in the living room. 

My goal, once I finish the front door panel, is to get rid of all the excess glass we are storing in our basement. I have ordered a long arm machine with a frame and I need to make room for it.

Friday, July 9, 2021

Love My New Toy

I bought a new toy and I am so excited about it. After the Silhouette Cameo disappointment in 2013, I shelved the idea of using a cutting machine for my crafting projects. But when my brother recommended a laser cutter to me, I revisited the idea. I spent most of a day watching videos for various laser cutters, but they are so expensive, and I wasn't sure I would use it enough to justify the cost and space needed. 

So when I ran across a video for the Cricut Maker 3 and I discovered it had a special fabric cutting blade, I was persuaded to try that instead. I've had it less than a week and I'm already in love.

I decided I wanted to try English Paper Piecing and I used the Cricut to cut out the cardstock paper shapes.

I didn't really know what I was doing so it didn't have a 100% success rate on my cutting, but the failures were my own fault because I laid out pieces so they shared edges. Apparently, that's a no no. 

When I tried the next day to cut out a second project and left a gap between all the pieces, I had virtually no problems. I could not believe how quickly I was able to cut out these perfect octagons!

I cut out all of the paper and fabric pieces for the paper-pieced flower blocks in this little lap quilt in about 6 hours total (including the design time).
I'm loving having a handwork project I can carry around with me. I don't think it will take me too long to get these blocks finished now that I've gotten started.

Thursday, June 24, 2021

Back Stair Decking

I don't remember what kind of wood CDR used for the back stairs—it was something tropical—but it looked really nice when they finished the project. I really regret we didn't finish it sooner. The nine years of weathering did not improve the appearance of wood and my several hours of sanding didn't do enough to remove the weathered wood.

Yesterday, I finally finished applying the Cabot Australian Timber Oil. I like the finish. Too bad I didn't do it sooner. =)

The boards next to the door are covered by a roof overhang so they look the best.

All the sawn balusters and railings are painted. I just need to finish prepping the newells (sanding and painting) and we can finish this project. 

It has gotten crazy hot in Portland—we have a forecast for something like 112℉ on Saturday—so it likely won't happen for a couple of weeks. I am really hoping this hot weather doesn't last the summer.

Tuesday, June 15, 2021

Railings Painted

For the past couple of weeks, I've been slowly plugging away at painting the railing for the back stairs. We didn't have enough sawhorses to paint everything at once so I've had to paint everything in two batches. It was a little painful to put paint on this beautiful clear cedar, but I've learned the hard way that it won't look so beautiful after a couple years of weathering.
First I did the batch of balusters inside the garage. I applied a coat of exterior primer on all four edges and then I did the same with a good quality exterior paint.

All finished and ready to be installed
Then, once we had the tablesaw moved into the garage, I set up the rails outside under the porte cochiere. They're getting their last edge painted later today, then Jeff will finally get his parking space back.
I had hoped to finish this stair railing project before summer arrived, but in March I decided I would rather finish my closet first because I was tired of the disarray in the bedrooms. Then, by the time that project was finished, it had started to rain. A lot. 

I figured it made the most sense to sand and finish the stair decking before we installed the rails which will require a week of clear weather when it's not-too-crazy hot. I'm crossing my fingers it will happen soon because I'm eager to get this wood out of the way in the garage. I have some other projects I would like to work on.

Friday, June 11, 2021

Garage Progress

So far this year I've been spending a lot of time sifting and getting rid of stuff, the garage is no exception. We had this old workbench that the prior owner left behind and it was piled high with junk; this is how it looked last September. We finally managed to clear it off and sold it on craigslist. 

Our goal was to make room for the table saw to fit in the garage. Once the workbench was gone, we rotated the rolling wood rack and pushed it against that back wall. 

As a reminder, this is how the garage looked in Aug 2019 when I originally posted about wanting to organize it.
This has been a bit of a slow-going project, but I am pleased overall with our progress. There is still some junk we need to deal with in front of the wall with the tubs, but the garage is much better and more useable now, especially since most of the tools in the photo are on mobile bases and can be rolled out of the way. 
I have some ideas for more woodworking projects I'd like to try this summer, but we are feeling strongly the pull to get in our car and go places, so we may not get much done this summer beyond keeping the plants watered.

Sunday, June 6, 2021

More Native Plants

One of our favorite nurseries, Echo Valley Natives, has lost their lease and will be closing at their current location so it gave me an excuse to go and visit. (They may reopen in a new location if they can find one.)

In March 2020, I planted a Lonicera ciliosa (orange honeysuckle) but it died pretty quickly. I've been hoping to find a replacement because I really want one of these plants for our hummingbirds. I figured it would be worth checking with Echo Valley before they closed in July. They had two little orange honeysuckles and they also had the Lonicera hispidula (pink honeysuckle) and I purchased a couple of those as well. I'm hoping between the four plants at least one of them will survive and thrive.

Of course, since I was there, I found it hard to resist getting a few unplanned natives. I got a couple Dicentra formosa (bleeding hearts), Oxalis oregana (wood sorrel) and three Lupinus polyphyllus (bigleaf lupine). Other than the honeysuckle, we don't really have room for these plants so I'll just plant them in the beds with the other plants and they can do their best to compete for space.

We have been enjoying our yard so very much this year. A little more rain would be nice as we're already feeling compelled to do some watering, but it is worth it.
The Parking Strip.
The flower bed under the black walnut.
The view of the hidden garden from the back patio.
When I was poking around my photos, I was reminded this is what the area behind the garage looked like just two years ago.

Tuesday, June 1, 2021

More Garden Benches

When we were cleaning up for our holiday BBQ, Jeff made a snarky comment about our junk pile of wood on the side of the house. He was right, it looked bad. This is roughly how it looked over there, though the wood was stacked next to the house, not spread out all over the driveway. (This is a photo from last fall, I didn't think to take a recent one.)

It finally prompted me to use up the last of the good pieces of scrap wood. Since we were planning to have a BBQ, I thought it would be helpful to have more seating, and because we still had some short pieces of pressure-treated 4x4, I was able to reuse my plans from last year.

Jeff and I quickly sifted through the wood and found we had enough pressure-treated 4x4 to make two more benches and once we confirmed we could find enough long pieces, we spent about an hour cutting everything out. (We used whatever kind of wood was handy, without regard to the species, though most of what we had lying around was cedar and fir scraps from our fence and shed projects.)

Then I spent the next few days staining everything.
These benches went together pretty quickly. We decided to use fewer slats on the top this time around because we are hoping it will be easier to clean the seeds/leaves out of the gaps.
The old white bench was also partially disassembled/cleaned and restained with the green stain. I'm not sure how durable the finish will be since we applied green opaque stain over the top of the white opaque stain, but we won't be putting it back under the maple tree so hopefully, it won't need as much scrubbing.
The rest of the weathered wood I didn't think I would ever use went off to the dumps before the BBQ. So, while the side of the house still looks a little junky, it is better. I do hope we'll get the last of this stuff cleaned up this summer.

Monday, May 31, 2021

Holiday BBQ

We are really happy to be vaccinated! Jeff scheduled a BBQ for this past weekend so we spent the last couple of weeks sifting and cleaning the many piles of junk that had built up over the past year of being quarantined. I didn't really take much in the way of photos because the room themselves have not really changed; they're just cleaner.

We took two loads of trash/recycling to the dumps and dropped off one load at the charity shop. I still have one big pile of textile recycling building up on the front porch. I still have to finish sifting before I call them to pick up the pile.

We've had some wonderful weather and it was great to be able to entertain out in the backyard over the weekend. The hidden garden has been lovely and we got lots of compliments from friends that had never seen it.

We'll likely spend quite a bit of the summer visiting friends we have missed for the past year and doing day trips throughout this lovely state. The pandemic really helped us appreciate the ability to get out of the house.