Monday, December 28, 2015

Need Tile Installer

Our master bathroom project is crawling along, very slowly. Jeff went and bought thicker insulation for the exterior wall and he'll be putting that up soon.
Otherwise, we're ready for the tile installer to come out and get started but he seems to be M.I.A. I was warned he was a little flaky, but he seems to be especially so this winter. Twice he told us he would come out and start work and then didn't show up and didn't return my emails after the fact. I'm just about ready to cut my losses and find someone new, even if it means we have to reorder tile and I have to push out the cabinet and soapstone install. I really need a tile installer who can either show up when s/he says s/he will, or lets me know they can't make it.

Do any of my portland peeps have a tile installer they can recommend? I am looking for someone who can install with the narrow 1/16" grout. I'm pretty picky about it looking right, or I would just try and do it myself. But, I know I'd never be happy with the job I can do.

As an aside, we are looking for a border collie puppy or young dog. We prefer to adopt them from shelters, but apparently border collie dogs are a hot commodity in the pacific northwest. That is a whole other rant that I probably won't go into. I'll probably end up buying a dog from a breeder, if I can find one.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Project Goals for 2016

As we head into 2016, it seems like a good time to take a look at our last project wish list, published in July. Considering how bad we've been the last couple of years, I don't think we did too bad.
  1. Refinish floor in the sewing room
  2. Move back into the sewing room
  3. Stain side fence & pergola
  4. Modify front porch  & install hybrid charging station (in progress, still)
  5. Plan & start master bathroom remodel
  6. Waste weeks of my life in video game (I originally expected the game to be Star Citizen, but I wasted my life in Final Fantasy 14 instead)
  7. Prime/Paint/Stain/Shellac basement bathroom
  8. Install flooring/fixtures in basement bathroom
  9. Clean bricks and install "floor" under pergola
  10. Install backyard path
I think for the coming six months, I am going to keep the list pretty small again. I do hope with Storm staying with us, we'll get a bit more yardwork done. (She's magic with yards.)

  1. Finish modifying front porch  & install hybrid charging station
  2. Finish master bathroom remodel
  3. Install French drain along side of house (to prevent future basement leakage issues)
  4. Make sewing room curtains
  5. Make leaded glass panel for front door
  6. Get rid of the misc salvage we no longer need
Longer term list, in case we are motivated:
  1. Build the chicken coop
  2. Clean bricks and install "floor" under pergola
  3. Install backyard path
  4. Figure out stencil cutter software

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

What's Next?

Jeff and I managed to get the guest room all cleaned out for our guest. (No pictures at the moment, because the room is already occupied.) Many of the boxes stored in there were unpacked, but there is still a pile of them in my closet. I'll get to those later as I just don't want to overclutter my sewing room yet.

I managed to not turn on my gaming PC today and instead listed about 10 items on craigslist. (Go me!) I'm again attempting to escape the allure of MMOs to actually get some stuff done in real life. (Our current game is Final Fantasy 14.)

I have started to disassemble the Roman shade panels from Redwood City and I'm planning to convert them into curtains. I had originally planned to just add some width and use them as is, but now that I've had time to think about it, I'm going to unassemble them a lot more and actually insert squares with purple fabric into the mix. I like the fabrics I originally used, but if I add purple, it will go really well with my stencil. :D

Jeff and I are also thinking we're ready to make another leaded glass panel, this time for the huge glass panel in our front door. Yeah, that's a lot of clear glass.
We've been looking around my pinterest images and our current front runner is this design.
It's still mostly straight edges with some curved edges. I think we're up to the challenge. Jeff is working on the pattern in postscript. Once he's done, we'll start poking thru our glass collection. I believe we'll change the color of the flower to purple (rather than the red).

Friday, December 18, 2015

Sewing Room Before and After

OK, it's not quite after because I still have some boxes to unpack, but it's pretty close. I hope I don't regret unpacking the fabric because our bathroom remodel is still in progress, but I'm trying to clear out the guest room so we can set up the bed again. We're going to have a friend stay with us while she looks for a house.'s how it looks at the end of the day today. (It's extra dark because it's pouring rain outside.)
Tragically, we had some damage in the plaster when the guys demo'd the bathroom (on the other side of the wall). We'll have to mask off the stencilling and patch that spot and repaint it.
Under the table is full of bathroom fixtures. Hopefully those will go away in spring.
Here is how the room looked when we moved in.
And when we looked at the house, before buying it.
Yeah, I know some folks prefer the bright painted wood, but I love the richness of the stained wood....and it's my house. LOL

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Cast Iron Tub Extraction

When Jeff and Eric tried to move the cast iron tub from the bathroom into the guest room, it became very clear we would be unable to move this thing ourselves. It is HEAVY. I called around to about 4 different movers before I found one that would move it for a reasonable price. (For the record, Master's Movers.)

The other option, which we seriously considered, was to try and destroy the tub with sledge hammers and carry it out in pieces. However, we did run the risk that it wouldn't actually break apart and then we would still have to hire someone to remove it, only it would be worthless and have to go to the dumps.

The movers did a nice job getting it out of the house. Not one scratch on the woodwork. (We got at least 3 on the woodwork when we moved it down the hall.)
Now I need to post photos on craigslist and hope that someone needs a 1912 cast iron tub.

The electrician has been out and has done the new wiring in the bathroom.

The cabinet order was delayed because the cabinet maker never communicated to me he needed a deposit to get started. I'm not surprised, but I simply didn't recall him mentioning it to me. The cabinet is ordered now and should be ready between mid and late January.
We're waiting on the tile guy to come out and get started on framing out the shower pan and covering the walls. I think, if we can, we will have him lay the floor before the cabinet goes in.

So, we are making very SLOW progress.

Oh, I almost forgot, we're having water leaking into our basement family room. We've had record-breaking volume of rain in Portland and we've had water infiltrating into our basement lately so we're trying to deal with those issues. I didn't take any photos, but we had some interesting views of a huge rug sprawled all over sawhorses with fans and heaters running on it. And now that the basement has leaked twice in the last few weeks, we just rolled up the rug and set it aside until we figure out how to fix the problem.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Plumbing Replaced

This project has moved really slow as we're pretty distracted and our contractors are pretty booked up. It can be fairly hard to get a contractor out when you're an individual who isn't likely to hire them again. It took about 4 weeks to get the plumber out but he came out and replaced all the plumbing.
Sadly, he had to open up a wall in the living room to get to the plumbing in there.

Once the electrician comes out next week, we're planning to insulate the floor and walls and get a subfloor down. Our tile guy is installing the wall board.

There was a bit of a miscommunication on the cabinetry order, so that may delay the job several more weeks. Honestly, at this rate, I think it could be late Spring before we have an operational bathroom up there again.
Oh, and look what we found in the living room. Mia is officially being evicted except for short visits when we have company. We've now moved her down to the basement family room/gaming lair cage, which is probably better anyway because we spend more time down there.

I'll replace the chewed pieces when I stain wood for the bathroom.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Bathroom Demo'd

We've just got the floor left to remove and we're finally done with this awful part of the project. I have spent hours pulling nails from lath, which was, frankly, the best part of the project. Once we had Eric out to help Jeff with demo, they made short work of removing the rest of the walls. Sifting the rubble has not been fun, but we did do it so we could legally dispose of it.
I've got calls into the plumber and electrician and hopefully we can keep this project moving along.

We're not going to remove the ceiling as there is something like 18" of insulation in the attic above it. The ceiling is really ugly though, so our current plan is to panel over it with cedar T&G, something like this (without the crown painted, obviously):

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Interesting Reuses for Lath

Since our local landfill won't take plaster and lath, we have been exploring alternate ways to dispose of it. My original plan was to simply burn the lath, but I have since found some possibly better ways to use the lath.

Funnily, I didn't actually remember that this trash can I bought a couple years ago was made from lath. I think I'll run some of the pieces through our planer and see how they look.

Another imaginative use is where you simply glue the strips together along the wide sides.

There is actually a company in Seattle that makes a business of selling furniture made from reclaimed lath. This looks like a very interesting idea. I wonder if I'll ever get bored enough to start gluing lath together. LOL

There are some seriously cool projects made from salvaged lath. I'm quite sure I'm not this ambitious.

This one looks to be more within our skill set.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Period Book: Distinctive Homes of Moderate Cost (1910)

I found another chapter on portiéres (room door curtains), and, as usual, I am sharing it. Who knows if anyone is interested in this besides me, but at least it makes it convenient for me to access the information. LOL  This is a word-for-word transcription of the chapter.

The book is called Distinctive Homes of Moderate Cost and was written by Henry H. Saylor, ed. and published in 1910. If you'd like to see the original text, you can download it here at Internet Archive.



There seems to be a sad lack of originality in the hangings one sees today. It is nearly always the same old velour or the same old rep, guiltless of any relieving color in the way of an edging or an appliqué design. Why not get some distinction into these important elements of home decoration?

After all, the portières in a home are just as important factors contributing to the success or failure of the whole as are the wall covering or rugs. Because they occupy less area than the things we put upon the walls or floors, they are only too frequently passed over without their due of consideration. Their importance and value in carrying out a comprehensive scheme of decoration in color and design is something that may well be reckoned with.

It should be understood at the outset that in the short space allotted to this section it is quite impossible to cover the whole subject of portières. It goes without saying that the designs illustrated here would be utterly incongruous in an Empire drawing-room, for example. In rooms, also, in which other French or Georgian period styles have been carried out in the architectural details and in the furniture, the hangings should, as a matter of course, be along the same lines. There are many beautiful fabrics from which to choose portières for rooms furnished in period styles—and at prices to suit everyone; velours, linen, upholsterers’ velvets, self-crinkled tapestries, brocades, corded silks, goat's hair, Armures, figured tapestries—each of which may be found the one suitable material for a certain purpose.

It is for the everyday American living-room, den, library, or hall, however, that the designs here shown  would solve the problem of hangings—rooms where no period style has been permitted to assume its jealous reign, but where the furnishings are of the simple, unassuming character that marks modern American work of the best type. In such a room the note of individuality and distinction that any of these designs strike will be a welcome and unobstrusive one.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Obsessive Stencil Research

I got obsessed with consolidating stencil research in a new page in the right column, called Reproduction Stencils. I've found some good sources of period stencils and I thought it would help inform others' stencil purchases if folks could associate a design with a particular period. I will continue to make updates as I find more catalogs and more modern stencil sources. If you guys know of any I missed, I'm grateful for the information.
Alabastine Stencil Catalog, 1899 and c.1920
This will also help me make decisions about what stencils I will make. It's way past time I get my stencil cutting technology up and running.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

1920s Stencil Designs

I found another stencil catalog, but this one dates from 1924. A bit late for my decor purposes, but I know some of you might be interested in the designs available. Stencilling was still pretty popular in the 20s. Anyway, the stencil catalog is "Excelsior" Fresco Stencils particularly adapted for House Decoration, Churches, Lodge Rooms, Halls, Theatres, etc.  by George E. Watson Co. Again, I recognized several of the designs as being commercially available. In fact, finding this stencil catalog was like hitting a jackpot of currently available stencil designs. I was pretty excited. (How sad is that? LOL)

I'll definitely be putting a page break in this post, because it's going to be LONG!

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Period Book: Art and Economy in Home Decoration (1908)

One of the things I like to cover in my blog are topics that are only rarely covered elsewhere (perhaps for good reason LOL). In my recent book downloading efforts, I found one with a chapter on portiéres (room door curtains), so I thought I would do a blog post to convey the information they provided. This is a word-for-word transcription of the chapter.

The book is called Art and Economy in Home Decoration and was written by Mabel Tuke Priestman and published in 1908. If you'd like to see the original text, you can download it here at Internet Archive.


IN many country homes curtains that suggest the modern trend of thought would be out of harmony with their surroundings. If a parlor is furnished in Empire style, what could be more incongruous than hangings of coarse canvas, ornamented with art-nouveau designs? The curtains must be in harmony in tone and design with the Empire period, and would need to be made of rich-looking materials, overtopped with the fitted valance ornamented with Empire designs.

Georgian and French styles must be treated with the same restraint, if the rooms are to be faithfully carried out in any one period, and the curtains must conform to the general style of the room.

In going into houses of well-to-do people, it is surprising to find that draperies that have been made by reliable firms have lost their shape and sag. This should not happen, and would not if sufficient care had been taken when the curtains were made. When they are laid out on the cutting table the interlining must be sewed or basted to the material, so that when in place the curtains keep their shape. Sometimes the bastings are caught only here and there, and after a while they give way: the result is a sagging, lumpy-looking curtain. If the curtains had been made properly in the beginning this trouble would have been avoided.

The draperies of a room should always harmonize with the walls, but should be stronger and richer in tone. Hanging in soft, straight folds, they soften the hard lines and add much to the beauty and dignity of a well-planned room. In providing portières for a double door, the portière can be made by lining or sewing two separate materials so as to form one curtain. The curtain itself will look well, but either one side or the other of the opening will show a blank space of woodwork; also when the sliding doors are closed, one room will be without its portières.

The most usual way is to make the portières to suit each room, the lining of one matching the front of the opposite portière. It is best to use sateen as a lining, as this is made in a wide range of colors. Wherever possible, the lining should match the curtain, but if the heavy curtains at a window are hung wide enough to come in front of the cream or white curtain, and will be seen through the sheer curtains from the outside, then they must be lined with cream. To my mind curtains lined with the same shade are much more attractive than those lined with white or cream, but they should not be more than twenty-four inches wide when pleated up, and not be brought forward to go in front of the window.

An abomination constantly seen is a pair of heavy curtains meeting in the middle of a window and then held tightly back by a cord or band. They give a feeling of uneasiness to those who appreciate the fitness of things, and are in themselves a contradiction. Why hang them forward if you want them back? The same fault may often be seen in sash curtains. They are hung on a rod at the top and bottom of a window, and then a foolish white band or cord holds them back in the middle.

Friday, October 2, 2015

Reproduction Stencils

I'm obviously on a bit of a stencil groove at the moment. When I was looking around the commercially available stencils this morning, I recognized many from a stencil book, called Arts & Crafts Stencilling, originally published in 1910, by W.G. Sutherland. It has been reprinted by Dover. Frankly, I was surprised how many of the stencils are available from this book. It is obvious The Stencil Library in UK pulled many designs from this out-of-copyright publication.

While I am not going to take the time to scan the individual stencils from the book itself, I will link where you can buy the stencils I've found to be commercially available.

This floral stencil is shown on page 13 and is available from UK's The Stencil Library, DE127.

This is also a wisteria stencil, pictured on the back cover of the book, that is also available from The Stencil Library, #66.
TSL 66

On page 84 there is a rose border that is TSL TR117.

More Early 1900s Stencil Designs

I've been idly poking around and I found some more period stencil catalogs. I don't know why I find this so fun, but I do. :D

I found a Blue Label Stencil Catalog from 1900 and I feel like I hit the jackpot, since I recognize quite a few of these from designs that are currently available.
This one you can also buy from CraftHome for $34.95.
Jean Marie
And here's another.
This one is also available from CraftHome for $48.50.
Dahlia Frieze
And here is this same stencil I used again.
This stencil design was offered again by Montgomery Ward in 1915.
In fact, I see more than a few repeated stencils, so now I suspect that either Montgomery Ward bought this stencil portfolio, or they owned it in the first place. Perhaps Blue Label was one of their brands. I'll have to investigate.

Anyway, you can still buy this stencil design from a couple different websites, the least expensive being CraftHome again for $34.95.
Here is a lovely repeating border design.
A nearly identical stencil, and rather better drawn design, is still available from The Stencil Library in the UK for £10.75.
Art Nouveau
I believe there are more, but in my search this morning, I did not find them. I will probably look more later while I'm watching netflix.