Thursday, May 26, 2016

Bathroom Tile Progress

We're happy with how our tile is turning out. Even though it delayed the finish another couple of weeks, I think it was worth it to take the time to glaze the accent tile ourselves.
I went and bought another can of hubbard squash paint in semi-gloss. I'm going to repaint the bathroom. I think it will look nice with the tile.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

6 Year Anniversary

I just realized we had our 6 year house purchase anniversary last week. Wow, the time has passed so quickly. When we bought the house in 2010, I naively thought we would be finished remodeling everything in 5 years. I didn't anticipate getting burned out and distracted for more than 2 years. But overall, I'm pretty happy with what we've accomplished. I should really go update the Before and After page with our latest finished projects.

Now that our accent tile is finished, Barrett has returned to his tiling efforts. He has installed soapstone on the curb and bench. I was not familiar with curbs being finished in this way, but it should be nice and solid, and a lot less grout to clean. Jeff likes it; I'm still mulling over how I feel about it. It should coordinate with the floor tile better once we can oil it.
And he's started installing the pencil trim tile we made!
I'll try not to whine too much, but the flaky is strong with this one. Barrett was 5.5 hours late yesterday, and 3 hours late today. I'd much rather him just tell me when he'll be here than say he'll be here at 9 or 10 and then show up in the afternoon. Sigh.

Pinterest is Broken

Do any of you guys use Pinterest? Have you noticed they broke the feed?
I totally get that they needed to add ads, but why the f**k do they have to add a bunch of unsolicited pins from boards I don't follow?
I follow over 2500 boards, surely there is content available to show in my feed...  I don't see any settings I can change to just see pins from boards I follow, so I assume I'm stuck with this. I used to enjoy poking around Pinterest to find good pins, but now my feed is mostly unusable.

Since it's quite easy to go back and look at my own pins, I still pin stuff in order to keep track of sites for future reference, but I honestly don't see the point of browsing anymore since 90% of the feed is stuff I'm not interested in.

Have any of you Pinterest users found the same problem? Are the pins in that feed actually useful to you?

Update later: Apparently, I'm a little slow on the uptake. I've noticed that my feed was steadily getting worse and worse, but I didn't really realize until today that there was practically nothing in it I wanted to see. Lots of bloggers have talked about the new feed, called the "Smart Feed."

I did finally figure out how to get rid of the unpaid pins. If you click in the box next to the user name and board name, an X appears. Click on the X and then select an option from the menu that pops up. I went ahead and told it to stop using my boards for inspiration. It was tedious, because I had to do it for every board, but I did remove the "Picked for you" pins.

My feed is still full of a bunch of ads for stuff I have no interest in, but at least I can now see some of the boards I actually do want to follow. I guess Pinterest has done me a favor; I now have very little desire to spend hours browsing their site.

Do you guys have any suggestions for what is next? Instagram?

Update in August:

I found an browser extension you can install to block the sponsored content. I just tried it and it WORKS!

You can download it here for free: pinBlock. While I had almost entirely stopped using Pinterest, I may spend a bit more time there again.

Monday, May 23, 2016

1930s Appliqued Quilts

I have a regular search in eBay that sends me alerts when period items I'm interested in are listed; one of them is appliquéd quilts. I'm surprised by how many stunning period quilts are listed right now. I really don't need quilts, because I already have 7 pieced quilts I've made myself for our 2 beds, but it is always fun to see what's out there. Just in case any of you are interested, I'll include some of them here.
This GORGEOUS cotton 30's Mountain Mist "painted poppies" quilt is hand appliquéd and hand quilted, with hand embroidered accents.  There is quilting around the appliqué and in straight line, grid, and poppy designs in the background, all at an even 7-8 stitches to the inch. The back is white, the hand stitched binding is solid green, and the batting is thin.  It measures 70" X 84" and is in excellent, sturdy condition, with a couple of tiny, faint age spots (hard to find) and no wear. $1,195.
The pattern was design in 1910 by Webster and published in the January, 1912 issue of Ladies' Home Journal. Webster's pattern brochure emphasized the "dainty flowers arranged with leaves and buds in graceful trailing vines." The original pattern was done in blue and green only, with a postage stamp border, while this one includes pink flowers with an open/white border. The quilting is superb, with quilting around the appliqué and in 3/4" grid, feathered, and pinwheel designs in the background, all at an even 8 stitches to the inch. The back and hand stitched binding are white, and the batting is thin. The quilt measures a generous 78" X 82" and is in excellent condition, with the occasional light age spot and no wear. $1495.
WELL QUILTED Vintage 30's Grapevine Appliqué Antique Quilt ~GREAT BORDER! This GORGEOUS cotton 80's (some fabrics are earlier) ocean waves/streak of lightning/zigzag quilt is hand appliquéd and hand quilted, with hand embroidered accents. There is quilting around the appliqué and in elaborate straight line, grid, ripple, and feathered designs quilted throughout at an even 10-11 stitches to the inch. The back is white, the hand stitched binding is solid green, and the batting is thin. It measures 76" X 90" and is in very good condition, with some light age spotting in places and no wear.  $595.

Friday, May 20, 2016

Truper Wheelbarrow

This is just a quick post to mention a recent purchase we've made that we've been really satisfied with. A friend of ours put us onto the steel Truper 2-wheeled wheelbarrow. We bought one of these wheelbarrows this spring and it's been a great tool for our backyard projects this year.

During the course of our backyard cleanup, we've been able to fill it to the brim with gravel, bricks, or other materials and it holds up to the abuse. Because it has 2 wheels, it is stable; you can move it with one hand, if necessary.

Anyway, for folks who live in Portland, we bought this assembled at Do It Best on Division for $100. It's been the best $100 we've spent for our backyard projects this year. For those not in Portland, I did find one for sale online here.

I'm not being compensated nor was I asked to give this endorsement. We're just happy customers.

Goofing Off Sewing

After I got my sewing room chair mat, I was motivated to clean up the room and do some sewing. I had planned to finish my curtains, but unfortunately neither of my sewing machines are going to work for the project. I need to bring in the Pfaff for service.

So instead I made some cloth shopping bags. All these bags are made from large pieces of denim from dead jeans. This first bag is made entirely of dead jeans denim and a long piece of really cheap webbing. It's actually a really large bag, but Jeff decided it's the perfect size for the farmers market because it will comfortably hold a half-flat.
I also made two more bags in this heavy printed home dec fabric I bought on clearance for this project. The black pocket is made from more dead jeans denim.
To make these bags, I used this Railroad Tote design as inspiration, but I made quite a few changes.
I built my bags without a seam on the bottom. I hoped the bag would be stronger. I also finished my edge seams with a serger.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Rug Shuffle

Jeff and I finally managed to shuffle the rugs in the living room. I love the new rug!
The smaller rug was moved into the library area.
We're still working on putting the rooms back together, but I got the wall painted and the wood stained.
Oh, and the tile we glazed is all ready for installation.

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Master Bedroom Closet Plan

It's been ages, but I was in the mood to take a look at my master bedroom closet plan. Back in 2013, we finished one side of the closet, but didn't finish the cube side. I held off on the cube side until after the bathroom remodel (just in case we wanted to steal space for the bathroom).

I decided my original plan was overly complicated. The piece shapes were going to be just too difficult to cut accurately.
The other day I was cruising around the internet and I ran across the IKEA Kallax 5x5 shelving unit and it got me thinking maybe I could just cheat..... It's sort of tempting. We could simply paint it to match the walls and probably finish this project in a couple of days.
But no, that would be too easy. LOL
Instead, I found this modular bookcase project at the Family Handyman website. This seems to be less complicated then our original plan and we could customize the cubes to fit our space. We're basing our design on 14" squares.
I've decided to downgrade to paint grade plywood because stain grade douglas fir plywood is more expensive than I can justify for this project. We're planning to finish the edges with small pieces of stained douglas fir from our pieces in the garage.

Rather than struggling to make the cubes exactly fit in the closet, I'm just going to install shelves on the right side cut to the available space.

I don't think we'll get to the closet before this fall. There's a lot we want to get done in the backyard this summer.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Custom Chair Mat

Last summer when I first moved out of my sewing room, I realized how much damage my rolling chair had done to the floor. You can see the whitish spot in the photograph below where the finish was basically worn off.
After spending the bucks to have the floor professionally refinished, I figured it was important to get a chair mat to protect my investment. Well, I spent months looking around for one. A standard chair mat would not work because of the arrangement of the sewing tables. I would have had to buy two of them and I would have had to figure out a way to cut at least one of them down so it would fit in the corner.

Since I am really trying to clear out the forever tasks from my To Do list, I finally found a solution. It turns out you can order Custom Chair Mats! Okay, maybe you all knew that, but it hadn't occurred to me until last week.

Of the companies I contacted, only one company, American Floor Mats, was willing to sell direct to non-commercial customers and also had some sort of warranty on their mats. I sent them my drawing and they sent me a quote. Basically the way their pricing works is you buy the standard size cutting mat that is larger than your design and then they cut it down to your dimensions for free. I needed the largest size (96"x60") which was $304. But since the floor refinishing was nearly $1500 (including the hallway) I feel like it's a worthwhile investment.
I received the chair mat today. It came rolled up so it's going to take it a while to relax and flatten out again. But I think I'll be really happy with it.
Update much later: The mat relaxed and lays flat on the floor. It has protected my floor beautifully and I'm really happy with it. I'd recommend this company.

Monday, May 9, 2016

Woodwork Repair

There aren't many things more irritating in an old house restoration than repairing pet damage. Sigh. I spent Sunday stripping paint again. At least it went pretty quick this time.
Sadly, I think this is the end of the salvaged wood leftover from our remodel. I just love the old growth fir hiding under the paint.

Jeff managed to remove the woodwork in the living room. That damn bird chewed on every piece of wood she could reach. There are a couple pieces left with slight chew marks. We aren't going to replace them all; we'll just touch up the stain. Mia has been evicted from the living room.
Jeff is going to cut the wood and dry fit it then I'll stain it all before we install it. I'm also going to paint the wall before we put the wood back in. It should look good as new soon.

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Amazing Art Glass Catalog

I found the most amazing art glass catalog recently. There are so many fantastic color pictures I cannot include them all here. It is the International Art Glass Catalogue by National Ornamental Glass Manufacturers Association of the United States and Canada. It was published in 1914. These are just the color pictures I liked. There was also lots of clear leaded glass and beveled glass designs I am not including.

First Batch of Fired Tiles

The first batch of fired tile is back. These definitely look handmade. LOL
It is apparently easy to get a small bit of something embedded in the glaze that isn't visible during the glazing process but shows up during firing and ruins the tile. My "failure" pile is pretty large, though we may use a few of them in the row of accent tiles near the ceiling. (My standards may possibly be too high; Jeff considers most of these acceptable.)
 Here's a close up of the worst one.

Tile Nearly Finished

I finally gave up waiting on my tile order for the properly sized tiles. I have a deadline I'm trying to meet and it wasn't looking likely if I waited. So, on Friday I returned to Georgie's and just bought larger size tiles and Jeff cut them down for me. I spent most of day working on glazing tile.

My process this time was much better than last time. I put the tiles on baking sheets lined with foil. And I found if I cycled the full sheets thru the oven at a low temp (150º) they dried very quickly which really sped up the process.
I am nearly finished with the glazing, and I hope to have them all done by this afternoon.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Embroidery Book 1909

I ran across a 1909 embroidery book by Grace Christie a while back but I guess I forgot to share it. It has a bunch of attractive color plates; I'm not including them all. If you want to download the book from, you can find it here.
A Broad Border
A Doyley (Doili)
A Cushion Cover

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Leaded Glass Pattern

In typical fashion, I am flitting around my different projects. Last night found me playing with Corel Draw. I really need to learn how to use a photo editor so I can make patterns for making tile, leaded glass and/or stencils. I have a pretty old version I bought about 5 years ago, but it still does the job well enough for my needs.

This is the leaded glass panel I was considering for our front door.
Tonight (or rather last night by the time I got this finished) I managed to draw it out in Corel Draw. I had to extend the height so it would fit in our door. It is nice that CorelDraw can print out this large design across multiple pages so I don't have to pay extra to have it printed on a plotter.
I still have a lot to learn, but this project went pretty well.

Update: And for the record, I also tried making this pattern in SketchUp. In the old Google days of SketchUp it would have been pretty easy to make this pattern, but the new company that owns SketchUp has stripped nearly every worthwhile feature out of the free version (SketchUp Maker). Since I cannot justify paying $700 for the pro version, I guess my SketchUp days are over. I may eventually spring for another CAD program if I can find a good value, but I'll make due with other programs for now.

Monday, May 2, 2016

William Morris Art Glass 1910

I've been poking around antique catalogs again. This time I found a 1910 catalog from William Morris. It contains metalwork and art glass and if you'd like to download the catalog, you can find it here.