Thursday, June 27, 2024

Storage Emptied

We made it! We actually finished clearing out storage last Sunday, but I've been too distracted to post photos.

As an aside, I thought it was interesting all three walls of this locker were patched. I wonder if someone who rented this space before us broke into all three of the adjoining lockers. It never occurred to me to be worried about folks breaking in this way. Consider yourself warned.

We still haven't figured out where to store the extra black wire racks that no longer fit. But we did finally decide to let the white cubes go. I'm trying to overcome my tendency to hang onto things just in case we might need them later.
We've started setting up the workout area.
We are currently searching for a used recumbent bike for me. I don't really want to buy new, but if I haven't found something by Black Friday, then I'll probably break down and buy new.

Jeff already chose the set up he wants (the Inspire FTX) but we'll probably wait until Black Friday to buy it as well. That will give us a good deadline to get everything cleared out and have the spot ready for it.

Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Storage Almost Empty

We've been steadily chipping away at our storage unit, visiting every weekend to bring home a load. It looks like just one more trip and we’ll be completely moved out—right on track for our end-of-June goal!
Letting go of things we probably won't need again is still a challenge for me. It's tough parting with items that 'might' come in handy someday, but I'm working on it.

Back at home, we've set up all the racks, including one for our canning supplies. Back when we lived in a rural area, canning was a big part of our routine thanks to the abundance of free or inexpensive produce. However, since moving to Portland, those opportunities have become scarce. It just doesn't make sense to spend a lot on fruit for a few jars of jam, so I’ve been downsizing our jar collection. Just this past week, I managed to clear out three large boxes!
Our next puzzle to solve is finding a new home for several boxes of fairly valuable books. Since the county library system stopped accepting donations at the beginning of the pandemic and hasn’t resumed, and I’m reluctant to simply drop them off at Goodwill, I’m considering selling them. It does mean more work, but I'm thinking of starting with a few of the most valuable ones to see how it goes. Who knows? It might turn out to be a worthwhile endeavor!

Friday, June 14, 2024

New Joinery Chairs

They've actually been finished for a couple of weeks but we were never able to make it into the workshop to pick them up during their business hours.

We bought four side chairs to match the two armchairs that came with the dining room table. We had them use the fabric that we used for our living room morris chairs. Now we just need to recover the seats on the original two armchairs to match. 

It will take a while for the cherry wood to darken so they'll look lighter than the rest of the furniture for a while.

This was definitely a splurge. The Joinery makes beautiful furniture but it is more expensive than we are typically willing to pay. I definitely prefer to buy used whenever I am lucky enough to find it but I looked for a set of four matching cherry chairs for more than a year before I finally broke down and ordered these.

Thursday, June 6, 2024

Still Playing With Stencils

While the starter edition of the Linearity Curve program is severely limited, it remains my best tool for removing backgrounds and cleaning up blemishes from bad scans. I'm finding it quite enjoyable to play around with the program while watching TV with my husband. When I'm ready to create the cut files, I plan to subscribe for a month so I can export SVG files again.

I'm hoping that once we've finished emptying out our storage, I'll be able to pull out my Cricut and start experimenting with cutting out one of the designs. By then, hopefully, I'll have decided which one to tackle first. LOL

Here are the latest options I'm considering.

I actually edited this one because I thought it would look better with more petals.
Excelsior Fresco Stencils catalog, 1924
Excelsior Fresco Stencils catalog
Blue Label catalog, 1900
Excelsior Fresco Stencils catalog
Devoe Art Stencils, c. 1910
I tried to make the ties look a little better, but they still need some work.

Blue Label catalog

Saturday, June 1, 2024

Living Room Stencil?

I've been playing with my stencil files again. I don't know for sure if I can cut them out with my Cricut, but if I can't, I suspect I have at least one friend with a laser cutter. (I'm hoping, anyway.)

I've spent like four days playing with images trying to come up with a stencil that I like but I don't really know what I want and I keep changing my mind. The downstairs rooms are more difficult to choose colors because we can't use light paint colors because they will get lost in the wall paint color.

I think I maybe have settled on this first one but this one will be a lot more difficult to fudge corners and add extra bits to fill space.

Sherwin Williams 41 from their 1910 catalog

I also prepped the files for this stencil, but I'm worried with all that orange it won't look good over the green wall paint. It does have the advantage of being stencil-able in one pass.

Blue Label 1559 from the 1900 catalog
This third option was the one I picked to do several years ago but now I've mostly abandoned it because I'm not convinced it will look good over the green paint.
Alabastine 305 from their 1920 catalog
I am experimenting with adding a large painted field below the flower but that may not work well because the stencil area is so large. 
One of the main reasons for this post is because I wanted to mention a new-to-me program I found that is super helpful for making stencils. I was trying to use my Cricut Design Space software and it was super frustrating because it just wouldn't do what I wanted it to. It's possible it would work better if I paid them the $15/month subscription, but I only use it a few times a year and have no use for any of their art files.

Anyway, when I clicked on one of my svg files it came up with Curve software. What? I don't even remember downloading that, but I must have. Anyway, its long name is Linearity Curve Graphic Design and the starter version (which is what I've been using) is available for free. I just uploaded my stencil clip art file, asked it to trace it, and it was super easy to remove the background and make changes. I have only used it for a few hours and I'm already a fan.

Update later: I spoke too soon on the free Curve program. I made the HUGE mistake of letting it update and now it's practically worthless unless you pay them. Sigh.

Thursday, May 30, 2024

Small Victories

It's probably been at least six months since this table was last cleared. I'm finally getting my act together and cleaning again.

Back in February, I ordered four side chairs that match these arm chairs. Joinery already sent me photos of the wood pieces a couple weeks ago, so I'm hoping any day now.

We finished assembling three more racks. Three more to go.

Wednesday, May 29, 2024

Moving Out of Storage

Despite my best intentions to get out before we got the inevitable rent increase, we procrastinated. Oh well, we'll pay one month of the higher rent.

I had planned to rent a trailer and move the racks whole and possibly rent some help to move them back into the basement, but we finally decided to just take them apart and throw them in the back of our Ford F-150. It was possibly more time consuming, but much cheaper that way.

This past weekend we finally got started. On our first trip, we managed to get about a third of what was in storage and all of the racks that we'll be setting up with the new space plan. We're slowly putting them back together this week. (The rest of the racks will be taken apart and probably put up in the attic.)

The pantry tubs were all stacked up in Jeff's closet
so it's nice to have this rack set up again.

My hope is to do a load every weekend until we're out.

Friday, May 17, 2024

$2500 Drippy Faucet

Last fall, our kitchen faucet developed a slow, nagging drip. At first, if you tightened the handles really hard, it would stop. But over time, the drips grew more frequent and more pronounced. So, when we decided to move some plumbing lines in the basement this February, I saw the perfect opportunity to have the plumber fix the faucet too. I provided her with the make and model, and she ordered the replacement cartridges in advance—$40 for parts plus her hourly rate for both projects.

When she arrived and dismantled the faucet, we hit our first snag: the cartridges wouldn’t fit. It turned out the schematics on the manufacturer's website didn’t match our model. After more digging, we discovered that Newport Brass had updated the internal components. We found what we thought were the old schematics and ordered another set of cartridges for $80, and we scheduled a second plumber visit. Unfortunately, these didn’t fix it either.

Frustrated, I reached out to Newport Brass but received no response. Further research revealed I'd need about $500 worth of parts from several different suppliers, as no single repair kit was available for this model. Reluctantly, I decided to replace the entire faucet instead and ordered a Fairfield Bridge Faucet from Perigold for $1,489 in March.

Another appointment with the plumber was set, but delivery delays led to rescheduling—twice. The faucet finally arrived last Sunday, and thanks to a cancellation, the plumber was available Tuesday.

But the saga wasn’t over. We discovered the new faucet wouldn’t fit the existing holes in our soapstone counter, they'd changed the size of the posts.

After the plumber left, I scrambled to find someone to redrill the holes, eventually getting help from the original installers, Portland MarbleWorks, who charged $180.

With no functioning kitchen faucet, we seized the opportunity to dine out for a couple of days. By Thursday morning, the plumber squeezed us in early, and at last, we have a functioning, drip-free faucet. The final cost for this visit and the previous quick visits totaled $360. (The plumber nicely added all the time together in one bill, rather than charging her minimum each visit.)

So, was it worth nearly $2,500 to fix a drippy faucet? It pained me to see gallons of water wasted every day, but $2,500 could have paid for quite a few water bills. But, I'm fully expecting it will be worth it in the long run.

Thursday, May 16, 2024

So Close!

Back in February, inspired by our new-to-us media cabinet, I ordered three cherry bookcases from Mission Craft Furniture—the same folks who crafted our lovely bedroom set

They estimated a completion time of 4 to 6 weeks. However, after 8 weeks without any updates, I reached out to them, only to be told, "Just one more week!" 

Yet, another four weeks drifted by with no bookcases in sight. Finally, I laid down an ultimatum: finish the bookcases within a few days or cancel my order and refund my deposit. That got them moving!

This evening, the long-awaited bookshelves were delivered. However, the celebration was short-lived. The shelves clearly hadn’t been installed in the frames back at the shop because when we set them up ourselves we realized the shelves didn't look level. We measured and discovered the shelf pin holes were misdrilled, being about a quarter-inch off from one side to the other. Oops!

Regrettably, they had to take the bookcases back to the workshop. It's unclear how they'll rectify this error, but it's certainly not going to please the owner. As for when we'll finally get our bookcases, that remains to be seen. I'll keep you all updated as soon as I have more information.

Update on Thursday evening: They're back. I guess the owner was pretty embarrassed and he made it a priority to fix these. 

We need to unpack boxes of books to make room for the third bookshelf to go in its spot.

Wednesday, May 15, 2024


I want to say that Portland sucks, but I'm sure it's like this in most cities. About a week ago, the city came through and trimmed the trees on our street. We don't have any street trees (mainly because I refuse to plant them because then the city decides if/when you can remove them). But they also cut down our clematis vine from that ugly pole they installed in our front planting strip a couple years ago. They just chopped it off at the ground level. How was it hurting anything? These are photos of the clematis from last year. It hadn't made it to the flower stage yet this year.

We also got a letter a couple weeks ago telling us our power would be out for a few hours for routine maintenance work. Did they say anything about the location? Nope! Well, it turns out it was in OUR FRONT YARD

There was not a word that they'd be working in our planting strip to give us some warning so we could relocate plants. We woke up to a strange noise and I got up and looked out the window and found them drilling a big hole in our planting strip. I didn't get a photo of it, but this is what it looked like by the time I managed to make it outside.
Really, you had to set them on the plants? You couldn't have put the huge barrels
of gravel on the other side where there were no plants?!

I do not have any recent photos of this planting strip, the plants were just starting to wake up and it was just starting to look happy again. It was pretty well covered with ferns and other plants. This is a photo from a couple years ago.

I was pretty frustrated and upset, so we simply got in our car and went RV shopping. I couldn't watch.

This is how it looked when we came home.

I'm not sure which of these crushed plants will come back. I guess we'll just have to wait and see.

Update later: I was able to work out some compensation for the destroyed plants. They are going to give us a $175 gift card. It doesn't begin to cover the labor and shopping time, but it should at least cover the cost of replacement plants.

Wednesday, March 20, 2024

Living Room Cabinet

Jeff and I are thrilled that we've finally put the last piece of furniture into place in our living room! It's not perfect, but it's absolutely going to tide us over until we relocate to our retirement quarters. A little confession here: I snagged this piece from FB Marketplace a few months back without fully grasping how large it is. Sure, the listing had measurements, but did I measure our space? Nope! Lesson learned.

We initially wanted it against the other wall, but there is a floor register in that corner, and alas, it has no feet to lift it up. So, we made do and shifted it to the other wall where it only partially covers the vent. 

Giving it a good polish with Feed-N-Wax has made it look fantastic. I'm looking forward to finally unloading the plastic file tubs of office supplies that have been kicking around the dining room for several months.

After scrolling back through earlier posts, I now realize I never mentioned we also swapped out our dining room table. The amish cherry table we got back in August 2015 was lovely, but the chairs were wobbly and were beyond saving. So when I stumbled upon an absolutely stunning Joinery table on Craigslist in September 2022, it was too good to pass up. It came with just two matching chairs, but I hoped I'd eventually find more. I was even ready to part with the two original chairs when I found a set that would work. 

After unsuccessfully searching for more than a year, this past February, we finally decided to just order four matching Kelly chairs from The Joinery. They're expected to arrive in about six months, and we can hardly wait!

I'm grateful my husband was able to go back to work so we can afford to make some changes. It's been fun reworking our living space this year.

Sunday, March 17, 2024

Finally Painted T&G

I've been unmotivated to finish painting the basement tongue & groove wall, but this weekend I finally managed it. Last week, I decided to set a date for renting a uhaul so we could start moving racks and stuff back into the basement, and that finally provided the kick I needed.

Painting tongue and groove is a pain because it's difficult to get paint into all those grooves. LOL I'll probably still do a round of touch-up on the spots I missed, but it's a fairly even coat and I'm happy with it. 

We plan to install boards around the doorway and along the left and right edges but we're having a hard time finding boards out in the garage that are long enough and I don't want to buy more.

Thursday, March 7, 2024

Living Room Reimagined

We recently had our living room rug professionally cleaned, which was quite the expense. However, they included a moth treatment, which gives us hope that this rug won’t suffer the same fate as some of our previous ones.

This week also marked the arrival of our "new-to-us" living room furniture. We decided to give it a fresh look by reupholstering it with new fabric, as the original was quite worn and I was keen on a different color scheme.

We opted for different fabrics for the chairs and the couch, a decision I'm now contemplating with mixed feelings now that everything is in place. It's a done deal, but I'm considering purchasing more of the green fabric used for the chairs while it's still in stock, just in case I decide to reupholster the couch to match in the future. The couch is likely to see more wear and tear compared to the chairs, after all.

Immediately after the furniture delivery, I tackled the sun-faded arms with some Howard Feed-N-Wax. It was surprisingly simple to use and made a significant difference. Ideally, I should go over all the wood frames, but time was tight, so I only managed the arms, which were in the sorriest state.

Down the line, I’m thinking of sanding the arms of the couch to smooth out some light claw marks left by a previous owner's pets, but they’re not a major issue for me now. Honestly, I won’t be shocked if Bailey ends up adding a few of her own marks.

Despite the additional costs for reupholstering, securing this furniture set was a fantastic deal. It’s nice to have seating in our living room once more. With just one more piece of furniture to reintroduce to the space, our living room makeover will be complete. It's been refreshing to create a bit of change.

Finally, I'd be remiss if I didn't mention In-Ex Upholstery, a crucial part of this furniture transformation journey. When I stumbled upon this perfect set, my living room was still home to the oak furniture. Logistically, retrieving and then transporting the furniture to a workshop would have been a nightmare. In-Ex Upholstery, for a reasonable fee, picked-up the furniture from Wilsonville, transported it to their workshop, and even stored it while I took my time selecting and ordering the perfect fabric. When they called to tell me our furniture was finished, I asked if I could delay delivery so we could have the living room rug cleaned as well. They graciously housed our furniture for nearly three months, without complaint or additional charge.

Once our rug was cleaned and the room was prepped to welcome its new additions, In-Ex delivered the furniture back to us. My experience with them was nothing short of fantastic. Should I ever find myself embarking on future upholstery projects, they'll be my first phone call.