Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Target Score!

Look what we got for $5 at Target! We're pretty happy with our score.
Even though we don't celebrate all the rituals of Christmas, we do miss having a tree.

Sharon has been storing different urls at Pinterest for ideas for making ornaments. We're planning a big Winter Solstice/Anniversary Party next December!
Jeff put together a few cookie plates for our neighbors. It pretty much cleaned out our cookie supply, which is probably just as well.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Happy Holidays!

We pretty much cancelled Christmas about a decade ago and have never really resumed celebrating it. When we moved down to California in 2006, we donated the bulk of our Christmas decorations and the meager few things we still possess are buried in storage. Other than a cute wreath Jeff made at a master gardener meeting, our house is pretty much devoid of seasonal decorations this year.

We do like to gather with family or friends for a nice meal on "the day," but otherwise we enjoy a nice stress-free December.

Though, we know that our family and most of our friends still enjoy celebrating the Christmas / Hanukkah holiday and we hope you all have a happy and safe holiday.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Still Waiting

When we ordered our new living room furniture in late-October, we were told it would take 30 days. Sharon presumed 30 days + shipping time. Well, it's been nearly eight weeks and they haven't even contacted us to let us know the pieces are shipping. They must have gotten lots of orders for the holidays. Though there really isn't a lot of reason we need the furniture sooner, Sharon is starting to get a bit impatient.

We did receive the bird cage, but before we even got the box all the way opened, we could see that they made us the wrong one! They made us the designer bird cage and we ordered the square-topped classic cage. So, back it went the next day. We have the base cabinet in place to the left of the fireplace and now we're having to wait another couple of weeks for the correct cage. Sigh.

We had unusually good light today so Sharon took the opportunity to get photos of the living room with the newly-hung linen curtains!
Sharon embroidered the wisteria pattern on the curtain behind the chair but not the one behind the bird cage. Sharon's not sure whether she'll take the time to embroider the curtain behind the bird cage because this curtain may get damaged. If the bird gets the opportunity, she pulls in the fabric between the bars of her cage and chews holes into it — she did it at one of the houses we rented in Cupertino.We'll have to see how close it hangs to the cage once all the furniture is in place.

Monday, December 19, 2011

24th Wedding Anniversary!

Today is our 24th Wedding Anniversary! Hard to believe it's been that long. We didn't make any big plans to celebrate this year. We had thought we'd be headed down to California this week; but that effort sort of sputtered out somehow. It's hard to leave the house these days!

We are having a very low-key day. We ordered Jeff some Muck boots at a local gardening store and did a few errands. Sharon dropped off her sewing machine for service so she can be ready to get started on her William Morris quilt once the rest of the fabric arrives.

We're going out in a few minutes to a restaurant we've never been to before—the Screen Door. It has a very odd name, but it has excellent reviews on Yelp, so we're going to give it a try. (Note afterwards, it was good.)

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Organized Pantry

Our kitchen pantry was quite the mess, and really not useful the way the stuff was stacked in there.

While, we had big plans to build in shelves, it became obvious that it wasn't going to happen in the near future. We still don't own a table saw and the other tools we'll need to cut the wood down to fit. So, instead we decided to figure out a temporary solution. 

We bought this commercial-grade shelf unit from Home Depot for around $90. This space is infinitely more useful now.

Once we build in the pantry shelves, we'll go ahead and move this shelf unit down into the basement storage area.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Jeff's Been Busy

It's a good thing Jeff is still doing stuff. (Sharon has not been productive this week.) Jeff installed the new locks on the doors in the basement. We actually had those doors taped shut. It is so nice that they finally latch (and lock)!

This morning we drove out to One Green World Nursery out in Molalla, Oregon. We bought two apple trees—a Liberty dwarf apple tree and a columnar Scarlet Sentinel. Jeff got them into the ground right after we got home. It's pretty hard to show a couple twigs sticking out of the ground, but he ended up planting them in the front yard. He also planted the rest of the natives in that front berm today. The new plants are on the left side of this picture.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Staged Photographs

We finally got copies of photographs from Craftsman Design & Renovation. Sharon was sort of appalled by the stuff they put out throughout the house—way too much mid-century stuff—but since they hired the photographer, they could put out whatever they wanted. Anyway, here are Sharon's favorites.
Main Floor Bathroom

Jeff loves his BlueStar range.
Sharon loves our soapstone sink.
Appliance pull-outs and outlets in the tall cabinets.

Tapestry Documentation

Sharon got pretty excited tonight when she was cruising through her Craftsman Magazine pictures and she found this photograph from the February 1913 issue (p. 582).

Modern Tapestry for chair coverings, designed and woven by W.M. Baumgarten & Co.
-- an unusual combination of rich coloring with whimsically decorative designs.
This is extra exciting because we have been debating about what to do with our what-we-thought were non-period tapestries; we bought them over 10 years ago, when we were going for a more Victorian decor. We had thought maybe we would let them go after the remodel, but were reluctant to because they looked so good with the Craftsman colors (and we like them, of course). Nowwoo hoo—we have evidence that Stickley approved of this choice!
This will probably send us more in the direction of the English Arts & Crafts movement (William Morris, et al.) in our decor.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Woodworking Class: Plant Stand

Sharon finished making the pieces for her very first piece of furniture in woodworking class—a plant stand! She made it from douglas fir to match the rest of the wood in the house. This hasn't been glued yet because she is planning to stain it first.

She's hoping to sign up for another woodworking class next quarter to continue to work on her meager skills. Next up may be a mission style garbage can. She's been collecting possible period plans and we really need waste baskets around the house.

In other news, we received our 1914 toaster today! Too cool. Jeff tried it and it works! It even flips the toast when you open the panel.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

End of Fall Approaches

The City does its leaf cleanup this week, so Jeff has been hard at work hauling our neighbor's leaves into his now-huge leaf pile in the backyard. Hopefully, this phase of fall is finally over.
We didn't get a permanent covered chicken coop enclosure built this year. So, instead we're trying something a little more temporary. We saw this deeply discounted gazebo at Home Depot at the end of the season and we're hoping the roof will at least last this season.
Today, we got back to work out in the front yard. Jeff finally removed that arborvitae bush stump. We intended to remove it while digging the new path, but we simply forgot. Our plan is to plant a vine fruit (maybe grape or kiwi) in that spot next year.
Today is also "Operation: Clear the Driveway." We've had gravel and sand in our parking space for a couple weeks now. We're working on moving those piles further up the driveway. The sand has been moved under the cover, because working with wet sand doesn't really work. The rest of the gravels are moving up closer to the garage.
We're slowly trying to clean up the rest of the detritus left around the yard and on the porch in anticipation of a long winter. With any luck, we'll have another couple days of decent (not raining) weather and we can finish sloping the berms in the front yard and get the last few native plants in the ground.

P.S. Mission Accomplished! Parking space cleared.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Mucking Out the Basement

We've spent the last couple of days mucking out our basement "apartment." Even after two days of cleaning, the space is definitely not photogenic.

Sharon sold the old living room furniture we bought right after we moved in. Since we've ordered new furniture, we decided it was time to let the couch go, but when the buyer discovered the couch was part of a set, she really wanted the other two pieces as well. So, we negotiated a deal and she came out last Sunday and picked up all the pieces.

And while we had the space, we also decided to move down the large rug from the living room. That took a lot of shuffling to get it underneath the bed.

Sharon had already bought a replacement piece—a futon—for the basement.  We had to put it together. Real fun. (The futon is actually quite a nice looking piece of furniture; it has a solid panel back. We're hoping once we move the bed out of this space, this can be our occasional crash bed during only the hottest days of summer.)

We've also been trying to move stuff out of the space that doesn't really need to be here. And we've been trying to scrape six months of dust off the furniture. The space is still a dive, but it seems much more livable simply because it's cleaner.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Another Craigslist Score!

Have we ever mentioned how much craigslist rocks?!! =)

Managed a couples scores this week. First, this Stickley Rocker. Jeff decided he wanted to trade his Bentwood oak rocker for this one. The upgrade cost a couple of hundred dollars, assuming we are successful at selling the old rocker for something close to our asking price.
Stickley Henry Ellis Oak Rocker w/Inlay
Close-up of Inlay

We also picked up a couple of Rejuvenation schoolhouse shades from someone nearby. They were the same shape as what we used in our downstairs remodel. Last month, Sharon ordered the Rejuvenation lights for the upstairs bathroom remodel because they were having their once a year 25% off sale, but didn't buy the shades because they weren't on sale. Well, we got two of the shades for 50% off!

 And just for fun, Sharon bought a bit of decor for our kitchen — a 1914 toaster! The listing claimed that it works, but I doubt we'll be using it; we may try it once. It toasts one side of the bread at a time and you have to manually flip it over.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Bungalow Bathroom Research

Over the long Thanksgiving holiday, Sharon made the mistake of signing onto Pinterest. Boy, was that ever a mistake—what a time sink! But, in the process of "pinning" stuff, she basically got thrown into bathroom research mode again. It's probably going to be at least a year before we get around to remodelling our upstairs bathroom, but it's still a good time to look around for inspiration for when the time comes.

Sharon found some absolutely fantastic plumbing catalogs online. The best one was the Mott's Iron Works Plumbing Fixtures catalog from 1907. It is available for free download here, at the Internet Archive. Sharon found this shower enclosure!Doesn't it look modern? This is from a 1907 bath catalog!

She also found this bathroom, in the same catalog, that has no bathtub, just a shower in the corner. It's called the "La Salle" suite.
Sharon also found a few more useful photos. This one is from a 1912 Bungalow for sale in California.
This one is from a 1910 Ward's catalog.This same catalog also included these possible floor tile mosaics. The one on the far right is very tempting.
Finally, here's my last bathroom photo for this post. The 1920 McAvity "Royal" Bath Suite. It has a separate corner shower and a bit of colored tile in the wainscoting.
Sharon's still looking around for how to tile the walls. She has resigned herself to subway tile, but we'll be trying to figure out whether we edge it with stained wood, like we did in the downstairs bathroom, or if we edge with colored tile, like this diagram, taken from the Designs in Tile website. So many fun decisions...

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Exciting, Wet Day

We had a LOT of rain today. The good news is, the rain gardens worked (mostly). The bad news is, the basement foundation did not. We made a bit of a mistake building those large berms in our front yard without also building up the soil level around the base of the foundation; they directed water toward the house. Combine that with the contractor sealing the hole for the new waterline with an improper insulation, and you get quite a puddle in our basement storage area. The water was literally pouring in through the hole. We probably had about a half-inch of water in this front area.

Strangely, our first thought wasn't to pull out the camera to take pictures, but to start hauling piles of boxes out of the way of destruction. These photos were taken several hours later, once the hole had been sealed with a hydrophobic seal (Hydrocrete, we think) and the water had been mostly vacuumed out of the basement.
The quarter-inch of water in the back area in the basement (outside the bathroom) was pretty much self-inflicted. The channel across the driveway really doesn't work, perhaps because of the slope. The current plan is to actually dig a trench and install a pipe that diverts the water to the backyard. That hasn't happened yet. Jeff probably has an unfun, muddy week in store.