Monday, September 19, 2022

Lots of New Projects

I really should be posting more frequently. We have been doing stuff. Or at least we have been hiring people to do stuff. LOL

Shortly after my last post, we discovered our roof has to be replaced. The shingles are fine, but they didn't install them correctly and there are areas with no plywood underlayment. It is VERY FRUSTRATING as I spent a long time trying to find a reputable roofer to do the installation. But since it has been more than 10 years since the installation we can't actually go after the roofer, in the unlikely event they are still in business. (Apparently, many of them set up a business, work for 10 years, then shut down the business so they don't have to deal with installation issues. Then they start up a new business with a new name. And repeat the pattern. It's really dishonest and I don't understand how they continue to get away with it.)  Rather than let it continue to rot out the roof framework we made the difficult decision to just replace the roof again.

Anyway, we decided to get an Interlock Metal Roof. The company has been in business for a really long time and I can't find bad reviews or evidence of dishonesty. With any luck, their claims that you never need another roof are true. We probably won't be here long enough to have to worry about it in any case. Unfortunately, it's late enough in the season that we may have to wait until spring before they'll be able to put it on. (They don't install roofs when it's raining.)
We also are buying LeafGuard Gutters. We had them long ago when we lived in Forest Grove and we really liked that we never had to clean them so we're getting them again. They'll be installed after the new roof is put on so we have to deal with the bad rain situation for another winter.

We also hired Conserva Irrigation to install drip irrigation for us. We've been wanting to put it in ourselves for the past several years, but it is clear we just are not motivated to do it. The new system will be installed to code and there will be a controller and we should be able to program it to run on a schedule, unlike the original plan to just attach it to hoses to make it work. They'll be starting that work in a couple of weeks.

Finally, I hope the last thing, we hired Pride and Joy Landscape, to help us get the yard back into shape.  They took away two trailers full of yard waste and everything is looking much tidier. But, I'll be honest, they did remove several plants I would have preferred they leave, but that is my fault for not marking them better, or doing a better job communicating which plants I wanted to save. After the irrigation is put in, they're going to come back out and help us spread mulch for the winter. And I'll probably move some plants around into better locations once we'll be able to water them more easily.
Before the clean up, it was hard to see but we could no longer find the path,
and many plants were growing over each other.
The columnar apple tree in front of the house had gotten a little out of control
and it was also full of wisteria vines.

I don't have a good before photo of this bed. Generally, the plants
reached the bottom branches of the apple tree and the apple tree
had many lower branches so this space is opened up quite a lot now.

So, yeah, that's a lot of upcoming work. We're spending way too much money on this house again. I haven't even added it all up and I'm sure I don't want to. But at least Jeff is working again so it won't all be coming out of savings.

Tuesday, August 16, 2022

Cleaning the House Exterior

We have waited too long to deal with some exterior house maintenance issues. The gutters with screens on top didn't really do the job for us. They'd probably be better if your house wasn't surrounded by tall trees. The leaves just sat on top of the screens and in heavy rains the water backed up onto the roof and over the past 10 years, it's done some damage to the roof structure. I am not going to crawl up there and take a bunch of photos, but you can see this area easily from the ground.

Anyway, we decided to buy LeafGuard Gutters. We had them at our last house and really liked them. And they have the feature that if they ever get clogged, they'll come and clean them for free. Though, I will say, OMG the salesman wasted so much of our time. He spent 3 hours selling us gutters when he could have done it in under an hour.  We already knew their benefits and that we wanted them, but they won't give you the price until they go through their lengthy pre-programmed spiel. They'll be installed sometime next month.

We also decided to hire folks to clean the exterior of the house. The roof, the exterior windows, and the siding. I am in the process of gathering estimates. I'd like to have everything done and installed by the time the rainy season starts in late-September or October.


Wednesday, July 27, 2022

Hired a Cleaner

It's been quite a while since the kitchen was this clean. With Jeff working again, we have a budget to hire some cleaning help because goodness knows I stink at cleaning because without the deadline, it just doesn't happen enough. But when we hire someone to help us, I usually spend the whole day beforehand sifting and putting things away and tossing lots of stuff in the trash so they can focus on cleaning.

This visit was our first round and they just cleaned the kitchen and the bathrooms. I'm hoping by the next visit we'll have cleared out the living and dining rooms⏤they're still a mess of boxes from moving out of storage⏤and we'll get those rooms looking as good. 

Thursday, June 9, 2022

Loving My New Toy!

 Now that we've mostly finished seting up Jeff's home office, I've gotten the opportunity to spend a few days playing with my new toy, a HandiQuilter Long Arm. I am loving it. OK, the learning curve is pretty steep, but I have mostly learned the basics and can do a decent edge-to-edge quilting project.

Yes, I'm going to be swimming in quilts soon, so I guess it's a good thing I started giving them away last year. 

The quilts I practiced on in the last 3 days.
I'm going to have to learn to love binding.

It will probably be quite a long time before I feel experienced enough to quilt my really fancy quilts, like the Snake River and Finger Lakes Log Cabin quilts. For now, I am just playing with quicky scrap quilts until I can learn how to use the machine well enough to feel confident I won't mess something up.

If you have an interest in my continuing quilt endeavors, I blog about them at my crafting blog.


Thursday, June 2, 2022

Uplift Desk Assembled

The inexpensive maple table worked great for Jeff's Uplift Desk. It took us an hour or so this afternoon to get it assembled.

I've pulled our Ergotron Monitor Arms out of the storage space, but we're missing the attachment screws for the back of the monitors so I've ordered some. They'll probably arrive before Monday.

This desk should help Jeff work more comfortably and now that he is sorted, I feel like I can go disappear into my quilting studio and play with my new toy.


Wednesday, June 1, 2022

Quick Desktop Project

In January we ordered Jeff an Uplift Desk frame, but the solid wood tops were crazy expensive; like $550-1000 expensive. I couldn't bring myself to spend that much when we have a garage full of wood and some pretty decent tools. But⏤as is so typical for us⏤neither of us had enough motivation to drive the process so the boxes just sat. 

After a bit of looking around for more affordable options, I had an idea. I would look for a beat-up table on craigslist or FB marketplace and we would simply take it apart and, if necessary, sand down the top and refinish it. I obviously preferred something that was solid wood and could be cut to size without exposing the cheap inner core of veneer pieces.

Finally, I found this table on the marketplace for $25. The wood is a bit more knotty than I prefer, but it was an amazing deal and was solid wood. 

It was slightly larger than would fit in Jeff's desk space so we needed to cut 3" off one edge. It took us far longer to clean up the table saw and space around it than the actual cutting. Then I got started on sanding right away and am nearly finished putting on a few coats of finish.

Hopefully, we'll finally be able to assemble the desk tomorrow but it takes 4 hours of drying time between coats of the finish, so we'll see if I can get enough in throughout the day today.

I'm still hoping once the weather gets nice outside we'll still work on something more decorative with lots of different woods for Jeff's desk, but this will do for now.


Wednesday, May 25, 2022

Beautiful Spring Flowers

I haven't been diligent about blogging about our yard. It has been really quite lovely this spring since we've had so much rain. This is the best year we've ever had for irises; there are some we had that I didn't actually know what color they were. Obviously, we hadn't been watering them enough.

These purple irises actually used to be in our front yard, but when we planted the rain garden and shaded them, they actually migrated to the property line with our neighbor. I love the color.
These johnny jump-ups are a volunteer from the plants I put in last year. This is a good spot for them.
We got these two-tone irises from our neighbor, Donaleen. This is the first year I've seen the flowers on them. She thought they were the Iris 'Perfection' variety introduced before 1880.
I'm actually a little confused about this iris variety. I ordered several from Schreiner's Iris Gardens but this plant doesn't match any of the varieties I ordered, so perhaps it was a freebie from a neighbor. I did get a few plants from our local buy-nothing group. It looks very much like the Oui Madame variety.
I've been making a point of ordering more of the Pacific Iris varieties as they seem to do better in our shady yard. This Iris x pacifica ‘Violetta’ is looking lovely this year.
This Iris x pacifica 'Big Wheel' has been looking lovely for several weeks. 
This Iris douglasiana (Pacifica) ‘Canyon Snow’ also looked great a couple of weeks ago.

The rest of the iris plants around the yard are ready to burst into the flower so I look forward to next week as well.
This old-fashioned bleeding heart (Lamprocapnos spectabilis 'Gold Heart') has looked amazing for several weeks. All the rest of the bleeding heart plants in the hidden garden died, but this one is thriving in its location.

I have more photos and more pretty plants, but I'm tired and need to head to bed. I do hope the rain keeps up because our plants are loving it.

Friday, May 13, 2022

Furniture Rearranged

Last Wednesday, which luckily turned out to be a fairly sunny day, we hired a couple of movers from Oregon Trail Moving to help us move some furniture from storage and to rearrange furniture inside the house. Since it was so hot last summer we decided it would be worthwhile to move a bed down into the finished basement. The long-term plan is to install a murphy bed, but we just moved one of our bedroom sets down there for now. (I guess I haven't taken a photo since we cleaned up and made the bed.)
I don't have a good photo of the other side of the basement yet. Last night we got the television installed on the wall bracket and we started hooking up the gear. It's going to look a lot nicer with the wires all behind the walls. We are still hunting for a used nice-looking media cabinet so we will continue to use the inexpensive IKEA unit we bought to use during the remodel.
I also started moving my quilting stuff into the upstairs bedroom. I need to try and figure out the best way to use this furniture. Those are two Stickley bookcases and a Borkholder console table (all solid wood) that I scored off craigslist for very good prices. I think I may cover the console table with an ironing pad and use it as a permanent ironing station.
I'll have to show photos of the second bedroom next time. I still haven't taken any pictures since we moved in the new furniture.

I had planned to have the movers just move the big furniture pieces and then we would move the rest of the boxes and little stuff ourselves, but they managed to get virtually everything loaded in our pickup and rented U-Haul trailer. We only have a few things left in storage to retrieve before the end of the month.
The extra help was great, but I had rather expected to be able to deal with stuff a little at a time. Since everything came at once I now have a rather large pile of boxes down in the basement I need to finish sifting.

Tuesday, May 10, 2022

Rearranging Closets

Jeff is delighted with his new closet. It is much larger than the one he had upstairs.

All his clothes easily fit and we are going to add some hooks onto the blank wall areas to provide even more hanging space.

And I'm thrilled I got to claim the closet upstairs to store quilting supplies. I'll have to put some thought into how I want it all arranged before I start moving into the shelves.


I've already hung all my flimsies and quilt backings on the other wall. Hopefully, this is the maximum number I'm going to have. I expect once I have the long arm I will quilt most of them fairly quickly.

(For folks who are interested in the quilting side of my blogging, I am posting my quilting endeavors over at my quilt blog.)


Sunday, May 8, 2022

Basement Closet Finished

Except for the door, the closet is finished!

I had hoped to stain this closet like we stained the others (with the support boards stained and the shelf boards not), but masking was taking way too long and I would have had to go buy more masking tape so I gave up the effort. I was beyond ready to be done with this project so I bailed on that plan and just stained it all the same color.

It's time to start packing up the dressers to prepare for the movers on Wednesday. And, I think I can finally schedule delivery of my long arm. I'm excited about all the quilting fun I get to have this summer.

Tuesday, May 3, 2022

Sanding Again

I finally got back to work on the basement today. I spent ALL DAY masking and sanding the closet. Tomorrow I'm planning to wipe down the wood and start staining. 

I scheduled movers to help us move in next Wednesday so now I have a deadline.


Monday, April 25, 2022

Finally, a New Range

This past Wednesday⏤more than 11 months after we initially ordered it from BASCO⏤we finally got our new induction range. I meant to blog about it sooner, but I've been busy trying to get the basement finished.


I was tempted very many times to cancel our order and go elsewhere to buy the appliance, but I wasn't sure we would get it any faster if we had to go back to the end of the line. I freely admit that I would have preferred the green Ilve range, but Jeff is loving the features of the Fisher & Paykel. It has a warming drawer and has a low-heat setting for rising bread dough.

It's been a very long time since we had a glass cooktop. I forgot what a pain they are to clean. On the bright side, though, we can actually cook on top of silicone mats so hopefully, there will be less scratching from the bottom of pots.
I've ordered a couple of round silicone mats that are specifically designed for the purpose.

Sunday, April 24, 2022

Ready for Moving Day

Now that I can take photos of the other side of the basement, I thought it would be fun to continue my basement tour. 

I still need to finish staining the inside of the closet, the two new doors and the vestibule area at the basement door, but I am going to wait for some nicer weather so I can sand the doors outside. 

We also need to sand and put a top coat on the new stair treads. We had the contractor leave the masking on them because I didn't want them to get too dirty while I figure out what to finish them with. I had thought I bought the correct finish coat I needed, but I just read on the can that it cannot be used on floors so I need to find something else. I'm hoping to get the stairs finished in the next few weeks but I need to find a time when we can avoid walking on them for several days.
Tomorrow I will start calling around and see if I can find some movers to help us shuffle furniture around the house. We're going to move one of the bedrooms down here temporarily so we have a place to sleep when it gets so dang HOT this summer. We were miserable last summer.

Saturday, April 23, 2022

Staining Again

I've spent the past several days in the basement again. I'm trying to get the basement finished enough that we can have movers come and help us shuffle furniture. I still need to finish the interior of the closet and the doors, but most of the baseboard is stained and varnished now. At this point, I'm just waiting for the varnish to dry enough to remove the masking and then touch up the paint. 

Staining the baseboard around the back of the new laundry room sink was not fun. It was pretty hard to crawl under it to reach the back but it will be worth it. I LOVE the new sink and faucet, it is so much more useful now.
This coming week, we are hoping to start moving furniture into the basement family room. Jeff is eager to start working down there.