Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Guest Bedroom Doors

Since I'm still recovering from this stupid cold, sanding seemed to be about the right speed given my low energy level today.

I spent a couple more hours this afternoon on the guest bedroom door paint stripping project. I've stripped and sanded like crazy, but totally cleaning these molding corners continues to elude me. I just can't find the right tool; I've tried the chemicals with dental tools, detail sanders and sponge sanders, but they just don't clean these edges. So, in the interest of my sanity, I've decided to declare the two guest bedroom doors finished!

Luckily, our dark stain will probably cover this paint residue.

So, I've now finished two of the three doors in the guest room. There is still one more door that exits onto the sleeping porch. That one, luckily, only has to be stripped to stain-ready on the inside of the door. The sleeping porch is still too damp during the winter to risk a stained finish on the outside.

Monday, May 28, 2012

How Does Our Garden Grow?

Very well, apparently. We had a week of rain and our garden has quite burst to life. Jeff's been able to pick fresh lettuce for our meals, which has been wonderful. We're looking forward to the tomatoes later in the summer, especially the purple ones.

Here is how it looked a couple of weeks ago, when Jeff first planted it.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Garage Rebuild Plan

Thanks to us both getting sick, we've now managed to be mostly unproductive for nearly two weeks. Ugh.

The one important thing we've managed to do this week is to make a decision about the garage. We've decided to hire one of the contractors we got a quote from last month, Tim Austin. We called three of his references and got glowing reviews, looked up his contractor's license, and looked at lots of pictures of his earlier projects, so we're pretty confident we'll end up with what we are hoping for.

The current design plan is to go with the garage with the rotated gable because it makes the most sense given what the City will allow us to build.

We're going to go ahead and tear down the existing garage and replace the slab because the existing slab has a couple of deep cracks that run its length in both directions. I don't think it makes sense to spend a bunch of money residing and re-roofing a structure that won't last at least 25 years (the amount of time we plan to live in this house).

Now, we just have to feel well enough next week to empty out the garage so demo can start as soon as the permit is approved and Tim has time in his schedule for this project. Here's to hoping we have a good week.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

While the Husband's Away, the Wife Will Play

I caught a cold early this week. I felt pretty foggy headed and really unmotivated to work on projects like paint stripping or stenciling. Stenciling could have been fun, but I couldn't decide what to do about the color goof. Do I fix it or go with the mistake? I still haven't decided and I'm just letting the paint dry so I can see whether I can go over it with the new color.

So I shifted my effort to more fun sewing projects. I finished binding my historic block quilt. I don't know why, but I don't really like putting on quilt bindings and I'll store nearly-finished quilts for months before I get around to finishing them. Since I just picked this one up from the machine quilter last week, I'm feeling pretty good about getting this part finished.

I don't have the ability right now to take a good picture, because I've only got the one bed set up in the basement with very crummy light, but once Jeff comes home, I'll see if I can have him help me hang it up on the picture rail on the main floor. But you all will get the idea. (Excuse the messy end tables please, I don't feel like cleaning them up.)
Front side of Historic Block Quilt

Back side of quilt
Then, as my cold got worse later in the week, I decided to work on an "easy" project. I made a pair of pillowcases to match the quilt I just finished.

Then I unexpectedly felt like making Jeff's stuffed dog, Louisa, a matching dress. The dress pattern I have in doll size is very fancy and looks real cute. Even though it's small, it doesn't really seem to take less time than people-sized clothes. In fact, I spent all day on this project! Though, in reality, with how crummy I was feeling, I probably would have spent all day in front of Netflix if I hadn't been working on this project.

I made matching piping and I sewed on lots of eyelet from my scrap box. I even made the matching bloomers! It's going to be adorable when we finally have our master bedroom finished and Louisa is all dressed up in this outfit to coordinate with the quilt.
Louisa's dress
Louisa's bloomers

Friday, May 18, 2012

Two Year Anniversary

Two years ago today escrow closed on our purchase of our pretty fixer in Laurelhurst. When we first imagined the remodel, we had delusions that we could do a lot of the work ourselves, but reality quickly set in and we hired a contractor.

We managed an amazing transformation of the main floor and we're very pleased with the result. Though it was an expensive project, I feel it will be worthwhile over the 25 year time period we plan to live here.

We continue to slowly labor at stripping paint in the upstairs. I've also been making period-appropriate decor for the main floor of the house. Though we're not super industrious like so many of our blogger acquaintances, we still continue to slog along. I suspect we'll take about three more years to finish the bulk of our planned projects. Less, if we find employment and can hire some of the projects out! =)

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Dining Room Curtains

While Jeff is off visiting his family in Southern California, I've been trying to finish sewing projects. I spent the first day sewing the binding on my historic quilt. I machine sewed the binding on the front side, and I've been slowly hand sewing the back edge while watching TV.

Today, I started stencilling the dining room curtains. I just finished one edge before taking a break. And then I realized I had goofed up the outside border color. I painted it with the rust color when I had intended to paint it with green. Oh well. And I'm also a bit disappointed there is so little difference between the blue and green colors.

I'm not entirely sure whether I want to wait and let this dry and try and paint over it with green, or wether I just go with the mistake and paint it all in the rust color. Unfortunately, it takes days for this oil paint to dry and I wouldn't be able to see if the green would cover for probably a week. I may just have to go with it.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Spendthrift Purchase

It turns out this blog is primarily maintained by Sharon. She'd hoped during the remodel that Jeff would also regularly make posts so that is why she switched to writing posts in third person. She reasoned that if different people were writing first person posts, it could become confusing. But, clearly, house blogging is not Jeff's thing. He occasionally writes posts at his recipe or his sustainable living blog, but virtually never here. So, I think I will go ahead and switch the writing back to first person.

More than a decade ago, Jeff and I ran across a china pattern at one of the outlet centers that we loved!! But, due to the substantial price tag, we did not buy any at the time. But I never forgot it. I actually had a search in eBay for years, hoping to come across a bargain. (I never did.)

Well, last month I ran across someone selling the china on craigslist! Though, at the $100 per setting they were asking, it was still pretty spendy. I thought about it for a couple of weeks before I contacted the seller. I ended up buying 8 settings from her.

Then, just a few days later I found someone out-of-state (on craigslist in their state) selling 11-settings plus a bunch of serving pieces for an even better price than the seller here. I rashly wrote them and asked if they would ship. They said they would, and at no extra charge. Then I did something that could have been very stupid, but worked out this time: I sent them a check for the total amount and trusted they would ship the dishes.

As the days passed, I'd thought about what would happen if the dishes didn't arrive, as this person was way too far away to pursue, but luckily, it didn't come to that. The dishes arrived this week, as promised and very well packaged. And now we have plenty of plates and serving dishes and we're all ready to do some entertaining. It must be time to schedule some dinner parties!

Wedgwood Cornucopia china
Wedgwood Cornucopia china
Wedgwood Cornucopia china
It seems very stupid, given our unemployed state, to spend so much money on dishes, but I've been fairly stupid about money lately. The financial crash did not inspire much long-term faith in our economy and "losing" so much money we had saved and invested, despite our frugal behavior, made me a little bit more willing to blow money on luxuries, just because we want them.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Sanding Doors

We can't figure out what happened to our weather. Just in the last week we had a frost warning and then within the space of a couple of days the daytime temps jumped right up into the high-80s. Ugh. We are heat wimps, but we are trying to be productive. We obviously need to get to bed earlier so we can pop up in the mornings and get to work first thing before it gets hot.

Sharon spent a couple hours sanding doors today. She finished detail sanding guest bedroom door #2, and then went back to door #1 to do a bit more stripping and sanding. That door didn't quite get all-the-way finished before she started on the next door because it had been tucked out-of-sight in the basement for the kitchen tour. Anyway, she worked on door #1 for almost an hour until the heat became uncomfortable. (It's hardly worth showing another picture, because they all pretty much look the same by this point.)

Jeff was a kitchen god and cooked all day in preparation for his out-of-town visit. Sharon doesn't cook; at least not much. So Jeff cooked away in the kitchen and filled up the refrigerator so Sharon will have decent food to eat in his absence.

We've been thinking about changing the name of the blog since the renovation is, for the most part, finished. Now we're mostly onto the decor phase of our house project. Sharon's thinking about renaming it 1912 Laurelhurst Craftsman, but she hasn't decided yet. She had some other names in mind, but they always seemed too similar to names of other bungalow blogs and she doesn't want to conflict. If anyone has a suggestion, we'd love to hear it.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Makeshift Chicken Pen

Our chickens have recently become escape artists. We've come home several times to find them grazing in our neighbors' yards. Our neighbors have luckily not complained, but we are worried that some neighborhood dog might finish them off.

While we have plans to build them a nice matching coop and enclosure along with the garage project, we felt a need to come up with a temporary solution in the mean time. So we wrapped that metal gazebo frame in the backyard with chicken wire. We jury-rigged a door with a piece of bamboo and bungee cords. We'll come up with something better if it doesn't work well enough.
Jury-rigged chicken pen
We didn't quite finish wrapping the top portion this afternoon. We have the chicken wire but we need to get some more wire. And it was getting quite hot working out in the direct sun.

Then this afternoon Jeff finished up the front yard vegetable garden. He shows some process photos here. He put down the straw as mulch so it would hold in the moisture and it should also break down and add organic matter to the soil.
Jeff is going out of town for a week starting on Tuesday morning so it's going to be Sharon's job to keep this watered in his absence.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Side Two Nearly Finished

It is perhaps silly to give daily reports on our labors, but when we've spent a number of hours on a project it's hard not to. It's also fun for us to see the progress from day-to-day. (Would you guys prefer we hold posts until the projects are done?)

Sharon had planned to finish stripping the second guest room door today, but she managed to get a puncture wound on the tip of her thumb this afternoon, which prematurely discouraged her efforts. Even so, door two is nearly finished. It just needs a bit of sanding of the contours to get the last bits of paint off.

Jeff managed to get most of the plants from last weekend's plant sale in the ground today.

There's just a few plants left and he's trying to decide where to plant them. If they go in the backyard, the chickens will likely destroy them. So, we either need to pen the chickens, or find a place in the front yard.

Friday, May 11, 2012

More Paint Stripping

Normally when Sharon strips paint on doors, she does each "step" (heat gun then chemical then sand) on both sides of the door before she moves on. Today she decided to finish one side, including the detail sanding, and then flip the door. So, she finished side one of door #2 from the guest bedroom.

Then she flipped the door and continued to strip the paint on side 2 with the heat gun.

While Sharon worked on the door, Jeff got to work on preparing the bed in the front yard to plant the vegetable starts from last weekend's plant sale. It's been too cold this week to plant them outside, but the weather has at long last seemed to turn warm. And the forecast for the next week is good, so he's going to go for it and get them in the ground.

He blogged about the process at his blog, and he has the terraced planting berm all ready for the plants to go in tomorrow.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Dog Agility Training

Jeff and Shasta started dog agility training a couple weeks ago. This is something Jeff has wanted to do for a while, but we just found a good training program in Wilsonville, offered through the Columbia Agility Team.

Based on Shasta's early enthusiasm for the equipment, we believe she'll be quite good at it. Since she is still pretty spastic even at 3½ years old, it's probably just as well we didn't jump right into agility training a couple years ago after the obedience training.

This is the wobble board that helps the dogs become accustomed to unsteady footing.
Wobble board
This is the teeter totter. Apparently the training is started with the board all the way down, and then it is gradually raised. This get the dogs used to staying on the board while it is rocking and then gradually the height.
The teeter totter board
 Shasta was a natural at the dog walk ramp. She was practically running by the third time across.
Dog Walk Ramp
Shasta enjoys the tunnel. Sharon tried repeatedly to get a picture of her going through, but Shasta was just too fast for her camera.
At the end of a run, the dog has to get onto a table and hold for 5 seconds. This was another easy one for Shasta.
It should be no sweat for her to pass this class!

For fun, This Old House has an article on how to build three different pieces of agility equipment. We'll have to do this soon.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Laurelhurst Clean-Up Day

Our neighborhood association is hosting a neighborhood clean-up day this coming Saturday so we've decided to get our act together and clean up all the misc. building materials which have been accumulating in our garage and yard. So our project this week is to get this stuff out of here!

We have a pretty large stack of wood window frames leftover from when we took out the glass for the leaded glass windows; those are going. And we have various metal bits all over the place, and they'll also be going. And we've got several *large* tubs of stuff in the garage that Sharon is currently sorting and we'll likely either sell or give away the contents this week.

Most of what is left in the garage at this point is salvage and we're still not sure what the fate of all the salvaged building materials should be. We'll surely be keeping the pieces that are designated for the chicken coop and garage remodel, but there is probably some of the stuff we could part with. The hard part is deciding which bits are expendable. We likely have too many painted cabinet doors; we should probably get rid of some of them, but it's hard to decide. There is always a special satisfaction when you're able to reuse something in a house remodel, especially when it seems nicer afterwards.

Jeff loaded up the back of the SUV and took a load of SCA gear off to storage this afternoon.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Back to Work

We had another beautiful day today so Sharon found herself looking for a project she could do outside. Since Jeff was going off to an SCA event, she decided to get started stripping paint on another bedroom door.

She spent nearly 7 hours on the project. She finished going over the first side of the door with the heat gun and scraper and then got started on the second side. She worked until her hand decided it was beyond done—Oww. It will be a few days before she can get back to this project.

Heat Gun Finished on First Side
Heat Gun Started on Second Side
This week we're planning to turn our attention to the garage anyway. If the weather cooperates, we're planning to spend several days sifting the garage (again) with an eye toward renting a trailer on Thursday to move the bulk of the stuff out of there. Then we can really evaluate the condition of the garage and decide how to proceed with the project.

Historic Garages

As our attention turns to our garage rebuild, Sharon thought she should go ahead and share some of the period resources she found to inspire our garage rebuild project. Again, we're sorry to our followers who have no interest in Craftsman period resources.

As with most of our projects, we do try and start with a period design and then, if necessary, make modern compromises. Most of our compromises for this project are due to cost; we simply cannot afford custom swing doors, but they would be awesome. We'll have to settle for modern roll-up doors.

First, there is a free ebook available at Google books entitled "Garages, Country and Suburban, a series of Authoritative Articles"  and was published in 1911. It has some great ideas for detached garage designs, especially mega-garages built by the super-rich in the period, i.e. three car garages!!

Sharon has saved a number of images and some of her favorites are included here. This first garage is one of Sharon's favorites. It was grabbed from American Bungalow's article, "The Bungalow Garage." There is no date cited for this garage design.

The following catalog pages show garages sold by Pacific Ready-Cut in 1925. You can peruse a scan of the original house kit catalog at The Daily Bungalow.
Pacific Ready-Cut, 1925
Pacific Ready-Cut, 1925

There were a number of garage images published in The Craftsman Magazine.
Craftsman Magazine, Feb 1913

Craftsman Magazine, Feb 1913

Craftsman Magazine, Nov 1914
Craftsman Magazine, Jan 1916

And here are four more images pulled from various house kit catalogs.

Gordon Van Tine, date unknown

Aladdin Kit Garage, 1912
Aladdin Kit Catalog, 1908

Aladdin Kit Catalog, 1914
Chicago Millwork Supply Kit Garage
Liberty Garages, 1926
California Bungalow Co., c.1920
Harris Bros. Garage, 1915
Gordon Van Tine, 1929
Wardway Garage, 1924
Found a few more ebooks about garages on Google:

Radford's garages and how to build them 1910. This one has some very creative designs!