Friday, July 31, 2009


I got my boards sanded and primered then Donnie came home from work. Since the work we do usually conflicts with each other, I can't move on to the painting since he will be sanding. We use oil on everything outside and with the lengthy dry-time, the fresh paint will be full of sanding dust, so now it's his shift to work on the porch. That's ok though cause I can always find other things to do which at the moment is goof off for a minute or two.

So, here's the hallway. I had a medium green paper that I wanted to use in the hall of my old house before I moved and am considering using it in the hall here. The hall project is a long way off so as a temporary measure, I painted the current wallpaper in an approximate color that would emulate the overall color of the future wallpaper. I wasn't sure Donnie would be comfortable with it so dark, so I figured now would be a better time to find out than at the end of the project! Besides, the whole hall was white walls and white walls are like camera flash-they don't enhance character. I think the green is beautiful, so here it is:

From the Second Parlor

From the Back Hall

From the Foyer

From the Second Parlor

From the Foyer

It was a dark and stormy night....
...and Donnie swears the guy on the landing was watching him. :)

Up the stairs from the first floor

From the upstairs landing

From the upstairs front bedroom to the back hall

From the upstairs back hall to the front of the house


I just can't wrap my mind around anything interesting to do, so I guess I'll have to work what's on my "list" for the day-sanding wood filler on little pieces of trim, sealing the backs, priming the fronts, caulking part of the porch siding, and maybe painting something if I'm lucky. Of course all of this needs to be very dry first and since it rained like the dickens last night, some of it will have to wait, but I could still be sanding those little trim pieces since the wood filler is dry...I guess.

BUT, I'll show some current interior pics of some of the place instead.

This is the second parlor. We just finished rehabbing it in April just before the Teapot Tour. It took 6 months to get it all in order, but I think it will hold up for a while now. I'll do some "How It Was Done" segments later (not only to share, but to so that I can remember what we did so we can do it again-or not as the case may be.) but for now, we'll just look at pictures. :)

Second Parlor-this one is my parlor. It isn't historically correct in its furnishings, but I don't think it necessarily has to be. I think it turned out well.

From the Front Parlor

From the Stair Hall

From the Downstairs Master

This is the Front Parlor which is Donnie's parlor. We haven't worked on this room yet, but it's still a nice room anyway. This parlor will be done in period Eastlake furniture which we have plenty of. We don't have any definite plan in mind for it at the moment only that it will probably be the most historically appropriate room in the house.

From the Foyer

Here's some detail of the rug from the Harwood House, cleaned up and in place. It fits this room and the mood of this room, perfectly. (Don't mind the compressor hose in the corner. Doesn't every one keep a compressor in their parlor??? :) )

Now, I'm off to sand something. Ugh.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

I Think I'm Going To Cry!

I visited the neighbors behind us-you know, the ones who just lost their privacy? They said they had been talking about fencing in their whole back yard to keep out the cats, dogs, kids, and so on. They had a guy come to survey their lot to find out where their line was so that there were no legality issues when they sell their house someday (which may be soon if they really put in the rumored apartment complex on the empty lot directly across the from them.) Can't blame 'em.

Knowing what we all know about the previous owner and his attitude toward things, it came as no surprise that part of our "fence from hell" weaves and wiggles in and out of their lot and that the "shop" sits right at the edge of the property line.

So, they'll be paying for their fence since it will be completely on their side of the line, but we have to agree to remove ours. OH! BREAK MY HEART!!!!! My question is....when can we start???

It's a special order fence that will take about 2 weeks to come in and man I can't wait for the day!

It's amazing that while normal people are adding to their property to improve them, what excites us the most are the things we're able to take away! : )

Do Dreams Get Any Weirder Than This???

I wrote this a year or two ago because it was so cool, weird, interesting, bizarre, goofy, and wonderful that I had to write it down before I started losing the details. I posted it on a message board originally and some of the people in it are fellow posters, so it reads a little wierd sometimes. Tammy is my friend who stayed with us for a while and Donnie is my husband.

Thought I’d share. It's a doozy!


There it was on the map. The place where we needed to go. It was all there in tan and black and only a little ways away-according to the map. Maybe a few towns to the north and a little to the east. The map itself seemed almost mountainous with its little humps and valleys accentuated by the paper on which it was written, an ancient parchment or some kind of hide with the texture of the Declaration of Independence. That’s where we were going. Only a few towns away. I would be meeting Tammy and Donnie there later that day.

The road was dark and there was no grass to be seen. Only thick, gray, ashy dirt cut deep with big ruts like something you’d see in a movie of someone driving through a flameless hell. Despite the appearance of the surroundings, all seemed normal-just some road construction going on.

After hours of driving, I finally made it to my destination and met Tammy and Donnie for lunch at a quaint Mom ‘n’ Pop type café fitted out in decades-old dining attire-small wooden tables on fragile legs, open back chairs from much earlier in the century, stained tile floor. There were a variety of hanging plants overhead that gave you somewhat of a feeling of being outdoors. It was a quaint little place with floor to ceiling windows on two sides and one could take in the view of passers-by on the old stone streets. Despite its’ somewhat ragged appearance, it was charming and the food was good.

Next, we were off to do a little site-seeing. There were rows and rows of open market to check out so we started there. We didn’t have a great deal of time, so we left empty-handed, vowing to return when we had more free time. Right now, we needed to get to the place where we were staying, check in, and drop off our stuff.

The road to the hotel was beautiful-plush, green, winding curves around gently rolling hillsides. The “hotel” was an old, square, one-story building. It looked to be a retired mid-century office building. We drove up a small incline to the large fairly empty parking lot on the side of the hotel and went in the side door to our rooms. When I dropped off my stuff in my room, I discovered that several cats had come with me as they always do. I never can figure out where they hide, but they always show up at the last minute. Apparently, they love to travel.

Several hours had passed and we decided to go back to the little café and get a quick bite. As we started down the hall, we pondered the route to get out. Everything inside the hotel had changed, but nothing seemed out of place to us. We wandered down the old medieval hallways and narrow passages, every now and then coming across a dusty, pointed, Gothic window of grids and red stained glass in the points. Curve to the left, turn to the right, pass along the wall of long rooms and back out into tiny hallways, then finally to our destination-the car.

Oh my! I had forgotten that it was Thursday! Thursday was my regular housecleaning day that I do for a lady with a large house back in our town-the one across the lumpy map. OH NO! Well, I’d better get to her place and get started!

That’s when they took my clothes. Some people lurking around the café told me I had to give them my clothes or else. They didn’t look like the type I felt like arguing with, so I gave them my clothes. I wasn’t going to argue over a pair of pants and some shoes, so off we went.

After driving through several miles of that same ashy pitted gray road, we finally arrived at the lady’s house I was to clean. She was home, but this was her second house, the one that she came to on vacations. Unfortunately, it wasn’t the house I was supposed to clean, although this one looked like it could use a good overhaul. I mentioned out loud that I imagined she wanted me to clean the one in town and that I would go there right away and get started. She said, “yes” and that Jeremy, who was a young man that was staying with her as a grounds keeper or something, had kept the place a little more straightened up than usual, so maybe it wouldn’t be so bad. The young man that was there with her seemed to be undisturbed by this statement. She did seem to be surrounded with young men and I wondered to myself if they were really the grounds keeper and the chauffeur or did they have other purposes. She was a very nice older lady and treated us all very well, so there might not be anything to it.

I didn’t think any more of it as right about then I discovered that she was standing in front of a large wall of discolored white wallpaper with a fading pale yellow design on it. It wasn’t the pattern, nor the discoloration that caught my attention, but the fact that it seemed to be free-hanging from the wall. The whole wall had come entirely loose and was hanging there by some unseen force of glue from the top of the wall. I put my hand on it and it moved-several feet of it-as if it were all one unit. I could tell by the movement of it that there were several layers under there.

“Looks like this paper isn’t holding up very well. You may want to consider stripping it off and investigating what’s underneath. It would probably all come down in one large intact piece. You might want to look into that.” I mentioned to her. “Ok, we’re off. I’ll show myself out. I’ll get down to the house and get it done today.” With that, Tammy and I left. Donnie had been standing quietly downstairs waiting.

Donnie got in his car and went on to do some site-seeing and antiquing, leaving Tammy and I to ride back to the hotel together so I could pick up my car. While we had been inside the lady’s house, I had noticed that 3 of the cats, Vinny, Clark, and Fragonard had been romping around and exploring the lady’s place. She hadn’t minded, but now I had to collect them all up and get them into the car so they didn’t get left behind. How they get to where I am is totally beyond me! I DON’T bring them!

Finally, I got Vinny and Clark and put them in the back seat of the car. When I opened the door to put Fragonard in, Red and Fenton raised their heads from their naps where they were sleeping on the back seat with Vinny and Clark. Now where had THEY come from??? Ok, everyone in, door closed-well, everyone except me. Tammy, thinking I had gotten into the back seat with the cats, pulled away and drove off leaving me standing in the lady’s parking lot. Great. No choice but to walk back to the hotel to get my car so I can drive back to our town and clean the lady’s house. In my underclothes none the less! I thought I might die from the ill feeling in my stomach that can only come from humiliation. Fortunately, there didn’t seem to be many people around-or anyone for that matter.

Hoping that Tammy would discover that I wasn’t in the car and would turn around and come back to pick me up, I started the walk back. Due to the construction that had taken place while we were at the lady’s house, the road had all but disappeared. There was nothing drivable between the long deep ruts cut into the surface of the gray hell. Matter of fact, there was nothing at all in some places except large gouged out mountains that required careful jumping skills. Finally, I made it to a tunnel-like road, far narrower than a car would fit, but easier for running on. So, I started running so that I could get back to get the lady’s house cleaned today. I wasn’t running long before I came upon the one thing I didn’t want to encounter-another person!

The tall athletic figure was running too and I caught up with her easily. She asked me why I was running and I explained that I had to walk the whole 20 miles to the hotel and that I didn’t have time to walk. Then I suggested to her that she get one of these new running devices. When I pointed down to my feet, I discovered there were not only shoes on them now, but that I was running on a piece of carpet turned upside down. I explained to her that if she got some of this stuff, pointing to the backside of a 2x3 piece of carpet, that she could increase her running speed significantly due to the added traction and that it was much easier on your feet and that you didn’t feel nearly as tired when you were finished. She was skeptical about the idea, so I continued speedily on my way. She didn’t seem all that disturbed that she had just been given advice by a lady wearing only underwear.

Eventually, I got back to the little town where we were staying. It was dark and strange. There was some kind of festival going on and everyone was dressed in ancient costume. To my right, there was a roughly made wooden structure attached to a rough log building. There was a dock next to it with small, very poor boats tied to a long rail. There were worn wooden steps leading from the dock down into the water so that a person could board one of the tiny boats. “Very poor fishermen,” I thought. “Odd.” What was present day when I left this morning seemed to have taken a step back to a time over a hundred years ago.

The smell left much to be desired and there were couple of men, still alive, hanging from some ropes that were tied to a long log of the wooden structure that was attached to the building. Apparently, this was payment for some kind of crime. See, if you committed a crime amongst the poor population, they put a rope around your torso, tied you to a rope that was tied to the log, then pushed you out the window and let you hang there a while. If you told them a story of merit or your crime was cleared, they would cut you down and let you go, otherwise, you would hang there until they felt like letting you go. There didn’t seem to be any fear in the people hanging, so I gathered these were mostly repeat offenders who would do their time and get on to their next bit of mischief. Kind of like being put in “time-out.” Inconvenient, yes. Lethal, no.

I went into the crude building to get out of the streets and see if I could find some clothes. The building was a crude pub for the sailors and fishermen. No luck there in finding clothes, and no money for food, which I wasn’t thinking about at the time anyway. Lots of information among intoxicated people though. What I found out was that the “hotel” was a castle that permitted only English and respected, invited guests. To get in there, I would need to appear to be one of them-or at least one of the invited international guests.

A young, slender woman of medium height stood proud as she entered through the open door of the castle. The wind caught the long dark silky hair that hung loosely to the waist. The graceful figure of a dancer was wrapped in an oyster colored sheer scarf around the shoulders like a shawl, around the legs in the manner of a skirt, then tucked in at the waist-just above the bottom of the naval-length mock-collar tee-shirt. The ensemble was stunning in its simplicity.

A lady met me at the door and escorted me to a certain part of the hotel. She easily guided me through the maze of rooms, all the while telling me about various things that were going on in the castle that evening. We passed through rooms full of people where conferences were being held, huge empty dining rooms, and finally through a large dimly lit room where there was only a piano, a man sitting on a stool slightly above a small group of people who were listening to history. Although it was evening, in this room some sort of breakfast lecture was being held although I didn’t notice anyone eating. The dim candle light illuminated only the speaker, who I recognized immediately as Magnaverde. My escort quietly announced with some pride that the lecturer was Magnaverde. “Yes, I know Magnaverde” I replied in a well educated English accent. She seemed pleased and nodded at me as if I was somehow of higher status.

Higher status or not, there was no way I was going to meet Mag in person while wearing only underwear and a sheer window treatment! I held my head high and walked quietly with my escort along the side of the room. Of course, if he recognized me, I’d speak, but I would prefer to come back later when properly attired.

Whew! Made it undetected! And as far as I could tell, neither my escort, nor any of the rooms full of people that we had passed through had detected that I was an American fraud.

After passing through the room where Mag was speaking, the escort left me to find my way down the maze of passages. I picked along trying to think of what we had seen when Tammy and I had left that morning. The walls were dark gray stone as I made my way through the corridors. I passed a few people on my way, most of which accepted that I was who I was supposed to be. On one instance however, I thought I would be discovered as my sheer had slipped below the bottom of my tee shirt and revealed skin. The lady who saw it just laughed and said quietly to her husband, “Huh, Indian,” as in-from India. Close call on that one!

Finally, I came to a place I recognized well. It was an intersection with a large room on the left. It had been empty when we had passed through the first time, but now a party was in full swing. Up a small ramp was the entrance to what looked to be vendors of antiques and pubs and laughter was rolling out into the corridor. There was a lady there collecting tolls to enter and you must be of English heritage to be admitted-once the toll was paid, of course.

No need to go in there right now. There was the issue of attire, you know. My window treatment slipped down again and I hurried to hike it back up. In front of me, was an empty room with warm pools of afternoon light coming in through the windows and catching the dust suspended in the air. The room was calm and peaceful in contrast to the party going on next door. On the far side of the room, there was a door. I wanted to go there, but knew that my room-and my clothes-were down the narrow gothic-window-lined passage to the right of this room. All it would take was to turn toward the windows, make a sharp left and I would be home free and undiscovered. But the room was enticing and warm and I really wanted to see what was in there and where the door led.

I crossed the room and opened the door. All that was there were more narrow corridors, but this time they were lined with remnants of the past. Everywhere to be seen there were antiques, architectural elements, and large folded panels of gilded wallpapers all of which had either fallen off or been replaced during some “renovation.” There were halls and more halls just filled with some of the most fabulous time-worn treasures that a person might want to see. Sometime during my wanderings, a man appeared. Another snooper who was just as fascinated by what we had discovered as I was.

Finally, we came to a large open room. There were stairs along one wall that went to more floors of halls being used as storage areas. At the base of the stairs, lying on its’ side was a huge wooden balcony with a staircase attached. The pattern was the most intricate Gothic design that seemed both lacy and masculine. I have never seen anything like it in my life! There was a large window in the 2 story room from which light poured over the wood until it glowed. Gasping in awe, I HAD to find Donnie! He would absolutely love this little tour! Then we’d go exploring upstairs. With that I turned to go. Problems with the drapes again. I turned to look in a dusty mirror, wondering what the lady that thought I was from India had seen. There it was, just below my navel, the tattoo of flowing words that read:

Anheuser Busch

I gasped, horrified! Then yanking up the scarf, ran out of the place, passing all the glorious things that could be found behind these closed doors. I have GOT to get some clothes on!

When I got to the intersection, Donnie and Tammy were there. Like me, they were different, tall, young, with the faces and figures of youth. Donnie, with short dark curls was smashing in his long black boots and black riding pants. Tammy was a vision of beauty in a proper flowing gown with long, thick, blonde hair and a circlet of small pale blue gems crossing her forehead. Neither of them seemed to notice anything out of place with what I had on, but there was no time to worry about that as we had just gotten accosted by the toll-woman at the entrance to the pub-mall.

This was the test. If we were to make it inside, we’d never be suspected again. “You gotta see what I found!” I whispered to Donnie as he reached into his pocket and extracted the coins needed to pay the toll. Clunk, clunk, clink, clunk. Into the box they went. Tammy and Donnie moved forward, but the woman grabbed my arm hard and kept me standing in my place. From the box, she extracted the coins. 3 one pound coins and a quarter. I shoved a wad of bubble gum in my mouth as I waited. “Imposter” she said to me with a daring tone.

While I continued to chomp down on the wad of gum so I could speak, I was busy thinking of what to do next. Not only would I get kicked out of the place and shoved out the window down by the water with a rope tied around my chest, Donnie and Tammy would be too! I looked her square in the eye and said in my American accent “If you don’t let go of my arm, I’m going to shove this giant wad of gum into your ear.” She looked at me speculatively, but did not let go. I couldn’t help but laugh as the entire scene of someone having bubble gum shoved into their ear had just played out in my head.

“Could you imagine?” I asked her laughing honestly. “What that would look like to see someone do something as absurd as that?”

As she pictured it in her head, she started to smile, just a little. I grabbed her arm firmly and said to her quietly, “We won’t cause you any trouble.” She nodded and let us go.


Vacation over. Something woke me up. Some mornings, I just love sleeping in! But MAN! I wish I could have gotten to go back to the corridors full of antiques!

Here’s a summary of the where the dream elements came from. Don’t ask me how they turn into a story or why they even show up!

  • Map-many of my dreams start with a map, so that’s normal.
  • The Hellish road-probably from a movie we saw at Tammy’s a few days ago.
  • Café-I turned off an art light on a painting of a café in Venice last night before going to bed.
  • Good Food-Last night I had asked Cheryle (Bulldog Mom) about a Mexican place that I thought had good food.
  • Cats-always follow me in dreams.
  • Housecleaning-One of the things on the list of things to do was clean up an area. I never got to it because of things popping up all the time and I wanted to get it done that day.
  • The Lady-I still have the keys to a lady’s house that I used to cat-sit and do décor and handyman work for. I decided I needed to get them sent back to her yesterday. She lives in another town.
  • Ashy pitted gray road-yesterday I helped some people find some tile that was gray, kind of ashy looking in places, with dark lines through it here and there.
  • Tammy leaving me in the parking lot-Tammy moving to her own house.
  • Jeremy the grounds keeper-Jeremy is the name of the guy who bought my old house. Yesterday I got a coupon from the tree service that I used at that house. I thought I would send it to him as they were very good.
  • Carpet-there are a few pieces of carpet that need to go in the trash. They got wet and I hung them to dry yesterday. Together they make a piece that would be about 2’x3’.
  • Ancient villages and fishermen-Last night I turned off the light over a painting of a party in Venice.
  • My Window Treatment costume-from one of the pictures on Donnie’s screen saver that I saw this morning.
  • The Guy in the secret halls-David aka 1902 House. He had no name in the dream, but I saw his post this morning while Donnie was surfing. He would have enjoyed the things in the corridor.
  • Anheuser Busch tattoo-From the can of Full Throttle energy drink that has become my cappuccino substitute. I noticed the maker on the can two days ago. I don’t drink beer, so I’m not sure what was up with the Budweiser part except that it is also an A.-B. product.
  • The wrong coin-When I paid for that can of Full Throttle yesterday, I used the change from the dresser in the Self Check lane. Among the change was a Canadian quarter which the machine probably wouldn’t accept. The machine made clinking noises as the change went in.
  • Falling wallpaper-recurring in dreams for years. Has to do with the nightmare of having a customers wallpaper fall off the walls in big sheets during the night.
  • Bubble gum-I have absolutely no idea, but can tell you that when confronted, such a thing will totally catch someone off guard. It’s worked as a tactic before-although not with bubble gum-and will usually get crabby people laughing.
  • Snooping in off-limits places-probably came from the other day when I gave a giant old abandoned house a good going through. It was way cool and I wanted to get Donnie to go have a look at it too. I thought about it on Sunday.
  • Mag-shows up in dreams about antiques and history all the time, but occasionally has to share the glory with Sean Connery. I have no idea why.
  • Old building and antiques-my normal dream material.
I don’t know where the rest of the stuff came from. England, probably because I lived there, imposter probably stems from feeling unsure about my knowledge in a certain area that I’ve been assigned to be a specialist in and know little about, giving away my pants and shoes, who knows about that one. So, if ya’ll don’t see me in the future, just know that it’s hard to type while wearing a straight-jacket!

Monday, July 27, 2009

Another One Bites the Dust

My Hero
Donnie was nice and pulled the shingles off the roof of the part of the shed that was left then started working on bringing the rest of it down. It was too dark by the time we got done last night for pics of the few more feet of yard we acquired, to I waited til today to get some pics.

This is what we have this morning and I couldn't be happier...well I could, but that's a long way off and will involve removing that triangular thing that's left that was once called a greenhouse.

The picture on the left was taken the day we looked at the house. It was February, so nothing was starting to sprout yet. The picture on the right was taken a month after we moved here. It gives you an idea of what the back yard used to be. I took this the day we were removing the pergola that was attached to the deck. Lovely, huh?

This was the view of the various structures that were attached to the thing we call "the shop" and that's only the back half of it.

Our thought is that we'd like to keep the part that has the big window, rework the inside with insulation and drywall, and put a rocking porch where part of the greenhouse used to be. Big plans and all that, but it keeps a person moving forward.

A Little Yard Work

Today, as I walked around the house ringing wet after mowing the yard, I realized that we almost have a lawn! I know the clean-up may not be popular with some of the townsfolk and all I have to say about that is that they don't have to try to mow it!

I will say that parts of it were pretty in a very wild kind of way. There were bulbs of every kind planted everywhere and fruit trees packed into the places in between. There were raised beds, walkways, and short walls-all full of flowers weeds, bricks, scraps of this and that, you name it. Basically, a lawn-mower's nightmare.

A little over 3 years later we can finally mow the entire lawn without shutting it off, picking it up, and lifting it over bushes, walls, rotting timbers and such. One of my little projects has been to dig up all the bulbs so that they can be planted in a more manageable fashion. There are enough bulbs even once we use all the ones we desire to share with neighbors and friends. My hope is to find enough homes of for the extras so that their beauty can be shared with others and that none will go to waste. We'll keep as many as we need for the moment and in a few years, we'll have tons more again. Maybe by that time we'll be ready to actually put some landscaping and in and will have given some thought on what will go in the new beds.

But for now, we're just enjoying the grass!

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Callie & Duncan

They're a mess! Duncan got to sleep on the bed with Callie last night. I was surprised that he did so well-he can be a real wild thing. Callie likes to get under the covers and when I woke up this morning, both of them were under the covers and curled up in a little ball in the crook of my knees. Callie rules the roost and Duncan is just happy to follow along.

They got to spend some time outside today which was Duncan's first trip. The two of them balled up under the potted fern and just napped for a couple of hours. What a life! They love their baskets~

The Err of one's ways...

On my list of things to do during my unemployment, I wanted to remove the carpet from the landing halfway up the stairs. It had "that odor" that at some point it had been used inappropriately by perhaps one or several of the cats-which is why they are all pretty much banned from the house.

So, I pulled up the carpet and took it out to the street for the pick up guy. I was pleased to discover that there was no damage to the floor underneath. It was still funky though as the PO didn't bother with cleaning or stripping it before adding another layer or two of poly to the thing. Ewww.

So, I stripped it all with a liquid stripper and got all of it off. As I went along, I washed it down with some warm water and Dawn (that stuff is coming in pretty handy) and cleaned all the extra mess off.

Between the time I finished stripping it and the time I came back to it, it had been a couple of days. I was definitely procrastinating, but finally I got the sander out and sanded it down. I didn't want it to be perfect since I wanted some of the history to remain. With the sanding done, I gave it a good vacuum to get all the dust off and put a nice coat of varnish on it and sat back waiting for it to dry.

Several days later, it seemed like it was kinda dry, but still a little sticky. Never had that happen before. No clue as to what went wrong until I was thinking about it today and reviewing the process I used. Somewhere between the late night I got the stuff all stripped off and the day I sanded, I forgot to do one crucial step. Paint stripper is a mineral spirit clean-up product. At no point did I deactivate it with the mineral spirits! Crap! So, I did the mineral spirit clean-up today-not that it's going to help since the damage is already done, but if it's wrecked already, might as well use the experience to see what all the consequences of doing it the wrong way are.

The problem is, for anyone unfamiliar, that the stripper continues to try to strip if you don't get all of it off. It isn't as potent as it is when it's fresh, but the new finish still won't adhere properly. So, this is what is happening on some of the boards on the landing. You can kind of scratch some of it off with a fingernail. Nice. Anyway, I slapped another coat of varnish on it just to see what happens. I'm guessing this will need to be restripped, but if it will hold up til I strip the rest of the baseboards, I'll handle it then. In the meantime, I'll probably run some experiments on it just for the sake of education.

I checked it out an hour ago. It seems to be drying. By morning maybe it will be dry and I can postpone a restrip for a week or so. I does look better just the same. What I think is interesting is that you can see where the area near the newel post didn't get any wear and is still kind of light colored. Never noticed that before.

Friday, July 24, 2009

The "Project" continued....

I forgot to take pictures today until I was done removing most of the thing. Donnie was nice and helped me haul the junk pile out to the street last night so the pile on the right is new junk. At any rate, most of the building is gone and now all that's left is a lean-to and it is indeed leaning too! Maybe its creator failed elementary math or maybe they just gauged it "by-eye" which is what I kind of suspect. There were many a drinks consumed in these buildings and I suspect this might have been a "great idea" one weekend. Needless to say, I am amazed.

I will say our neighbor behind us isn't happy with this building going missing. They keep a tidy place and if it were on their property, I'm sure it would have been gone long ago. She asked me if I could put the roof that I took off yesterday back on. Uh, NO! I think at the bottom of her displeasure is that the roof of this building provides several more feet of privacy above the top of the fence, so you can't see into their back yard from the first floor of our house with the building between us. Of course I realized it was going to remove some of their privacy years ago when I plotted to remove the thing at the first opportunity. It's a retired couple so they aren't having wild parties over there or anything, but they've gotten used to that extra bit of privacy. Can't blame them, but I guess they'll adjust.

So that's the report for the day.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

The "Project" of the Day

This is the part of the house that no one really gets to see. That thing on the left was a green house in its former life. In this life, it's our on-site landfill. There's a large dug out area in the middle that fills up with a couple feet of groundwater when it rains hard for several days. Can we say "mosquito wonderland?" Eww. So we've been filling it in with the plaster from a couple of unsalvagable walls and the bricks, and concrete we find buried in the yard. Progress on that is slow.

The area on the right is the "shed" as in "I'd like to shed the property of that mess ASAP!" And those have been my thoughts for 3 years. Unfortunately, due to some other storage constraints that I won't get into at the moment, We've needed to use this "shed" to store the lawn equipment, yard tools, old house parts that we will try to restore or duplicate later along with a variety of other "things"-most of which should have gone out to the street years ago, or at least sometime before the termites, and wood destroying ants started running a food wholesale joint out of the place.

So, I've been waiting for the moment when this thing could come down and I decided today was the day. Or at least it would be the beginning of the end.

So, out came the pretty red ladies, all lined up in a row. There are 3 generations of mowers there and yep, they all work fine. They all have their own purpose though. One has a bagger, one has been mowing brush and small trees with me for 15 years, and one cuts real close to the ground and was Donnie's grandmother's when she was around. Nothing like a sentimental mower collection eh? :)

After hours and hours of clearing out and sorting the contents of the "shed" I finally had 2 piles. the pile on the left is the stuff to possibly keep which was mostly the original parts that we had removed from the house to restore and some parts that can be used immediately for the continuation of Donnie's bathroom project. The rest was rotted, pest eaten junk which was just fine with me since now we wouldn't have to find a place to store it.

With that done, I went in for a sitdown with a cup of coffee and discovered it was only noon! What the ???? I've GOT to start sleeping in longer!

Well ok, I guess it's on to the next thing. So I tore off the plastic, cracking, corregated roof that was attached to the part of the shop we plan to keep-at least for now and removed all the roof supports for that section. Now, have a good look at this picture and see if you can see the architectural brilliance that went into this thing.

At that, I called it a day and just in time too since Donnie was finally home and I was starving, so off to the Mexican place we went.

3 Days Later...

I guess they got over their issues. Gosh they're cute!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

One Clean Rug

The clean rug is in its new home in the front parlor. I think it compliments the antiques very well. I think Donnie approves. I was happy to discover that we had an 8'x 10' rug pad that was still in the bag that fit under it as it is a thin rug that tends to wrinkle some. That should keep it flat and protected from as much wear-not that this room really gets any wear at all, but it makes me feel better. :)

Monday, July 20, 2009

Oh No! Not ANOTHER one!

So, a couple of weeks ago a lady I had never met before came up to the back door and ask if I wanted to take a litter of 4 kittens. 4 mind you! Given that we had just acquired Callie, I was like, uh, NO, but told her I'd check with some friends.

So I was thinking about them yesterday and since they hadn't been back to see if the friends were interested, I figured they had found homes for them. Well, low and behold, a guy pulls up to the front fence and informs me that I had talked to his wife a few weeks ago about the kittens and asked if I would like a white calico. My thought was still, uh, NO, but after weighing out Donnie's possible reactions and deciding that if you already have a dozen, what's one more, I agreed to take her.

He brought her by a little while ago and dropped her off. He said she was 6 weeks old and that her name was Molly. Well Callie is probably about 10 weeks old and looks like a midget compared to this kitten. After some investigation, I discovered that Molly isn't a she. :) Go figure. At least that explains some of the size difference. So, I believe he's going to be Duncan and by the size of his paws he's going to be as big as a German shepherd. He has a very sweet personality, so once he and Callie get over their "issues" I think they'll have a blast of a time tearing through everything in the house and that we'll probably have to follow behind them with a roll of duct tape.

But really, how can one resist?

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Today's Project: Cleaning the Antique Rug

I can't find a single picture of this rug in the condition it was when we brought it home after finding it balled up on the upstairs porch at an estate sale at one of the town's historic homes-now bulldozed for a parking lot. But I digress...

Anyway, I think it was one of the rugs I saw that was being stored in the stairwell that led to the basement. At least it smells like basement and I saw a couple of rugs down there when I got to go through the house while it was still standing. Sorry, I digress-again.

It was kind of dirt encrusted and had been wet at least a couple of times, but we got it for cheap and I figured if it could be cleaned up, it would be a beaut. I shook it, vacuumed the heck out of it-as gently as could be done, shampooed it with the Kirby, but it was still funky.

So today I gently carried it out to the deck to give it a soaking cleaning. I had heard that professional carpet cleaners use unscented ammonia to clean carpets and ammonia being one of my favorite cleaning staples I was glad to comply. I mixed some in a bucket of cool water (to prevent bleeding) and shot in a good squirt of Dawn dish detergent. I got Donnie's car washing brush and headed off to the deck.

After soaking it down with the "shower" option on the garden hose, I left it for several minutes to let the water soak through.

Then, I took the bucket of ammonia & Dawn and gently started applying this to the rug. Ammonia works best if you apply and work it in, go away for about 5 minutes and come back to it. I discovered this when cleaning funky hardwood floors several years back.

Anyway, I scrubbed it gently in all directions with the brush then rinsed it off with the "shower" option on the hose. If you get about 6" inches from the surface, it gives a better rinse than if you're standing upright with hose.

So, after several hours of cleaning, puttering, cleaning some more, we now have one washed, squeeged, drying rug. I'd love to flip it over and scub the back, then the front again, but I'm afraid to put it through that kind of handling. So, I guess I'll leave well enough alone, and call it a day.

We're going to test it out in the front parlor when it dries. :)

Sable thinks it's the cat's meow!

Friday, July 17, 2009

Completed mini-project: Downstairs Master Bath

This was the downstairs master bath when we bought the place. It was an eye-popper for sure, but not something we found pleasing.

After 3 years of living with this color and I might add the cracks where drafts were coming in, I'd had enough of that. We usually close this door when we have guests because it was just too embarrassing.

I discovered that some left over paints that I had on hand were a pretty color so I decided to slap some on. Turns out that the mixed color was a dead ringer for Benjamin Moore's Prescott Green which I happened to have a half gallon of in the shop.

So, Prescott Green it is. For the top, we decided Benjamin Moore's Oatmeal would work out fine. So, an afternoon's project turned into a 4 day event, but the result was worth it.

Later on, this room will get a gut job since there are suspicious things going on with the floor. No one is going to fall through, but there has definitely been water leakage at some point. It doesn't seem to be a problem now, but the vinyl flooring is all stained and nasty around the WC, shower, and tub. Since the room will be gutted, I think I'll take advantage of the opportunity to change the layout. I think the use of space could be better. Here's the current layout:

The new configuration I'm pondering includes moving the clawfoot tub to the upstairs master bath, enlarging the shower in the downstairs bath, creating a closet under the stairs where the WC now resides, removing a small wall, and creating a large storage closet on the backside of the shower that will allow for storage of vacuum cleaners, mops, brooms, etc in part and shelves in the other part. This closet would be accessible from what is presently an enclosed porch which will later become the hall for the kitchen, dining, and laundry rooms. I haven't really given too much though to the placement of the sink, WC, and linen closet at this point since this project is probably years down the road.