Thursday, November 6, 2008
I learned that buying such drapes can get quite pricey. However, at Hancock's Fabrics I found beautiful fabric on sale and ordered it. Then I went to JoAnn's Fabrics and found blackout fabric on sale. Some thread, labor, rings and a curtain rod later--we have blackout drapes. I completed them this past Tuesday. They are quite heavy and they definitely will block light, heat and cold. When open, they are a substantial counterbalance to the deep terra cotta wall and the bookcases.
One huge plus right now is that they give the dining room more of a finished look. I need something to look finished around here. We still have tons of trim work to do in the three rooms we have "finished". And the dining room and kitchen still need to be grouted, I need to finish the backsides of the cabinets under the serving bar. A few of the shelves for the bookcases need to be recut (I was tired and made a few sloppy cuts--now I pay for that.) And everything needs base trim and quarter rounds. So, I keep working.
This week I am beginning the grout work in the dining room. Grout work is not especially mentally challenging but it is physically challenging. Since I can't kneel--too many injuries to the knees--I stoop/bend over. I can only do that so long. Since I grout in small batches though, this isn't really a problem. It does strengthen my back and shoulder muscles. Yep, I noticed that this morning. I finished half the dining room yesterday. If the weather will cooperate, I'll keep working on it today. Oh, yes. It rained this morning. Still looks a little ominous out there. Obviously, I don't grout outside but I do my clean up out there and I try to keep the pups outside while I am working so that they don't get into the grout and leave little grouty prints everywhere. I can't make them stay in the mud and rain all day. So, I am waiting to see if the weather will clear. Chances are good for a little sun this afternoon. In the meantime, I can do a little prep work.
Thursday, October 30, 2008
Monday, October 6, 2008
Saturday, August 9, 2008
One challenge for us will be to resist dumping things on the end of the desk. You can see that we have already begun doing that. It is awfully easy to do. We will also need to get two chairs...alike. But that is later. Now we are working on tile.
Phil first laid out the pantry and under the kitchen appliances to get the hang of tiling. Then he tiled most of the kitchen. Today I tried my hand at tiling. Damn! That's hard work. I am convinced that if a tiler ever demands that you do something for him...do it! Tilers have got to have tremendous physical stamina and upper body strength that is to die for. On the other hand, we got a good bit of tile laid for a couple of wimpy book worms.
You can see from the photo on the left that it is going to look pretty good. this pic was taken from the front door. We laid all the tiles with the dots on them today. We put the dots on them so we will remember not to step on them.
We have also put tiles out for Monday's work. They're the ones without the dots (to the right of the cat). We also put out the tiles which run at a 90 degree angle to that long run you see from the front door. We have them laid out just so we can stay on track. With this long a run of tile it would be easy to get out of line and make the whole thing look like amateurs laid the tile. So we are trying really hard to keep everything square as possible.
You can't see it but we have little spacers between the tiles. That helps us line them up properly. They hurt when you step on them in your bare feet, too.
I've been unpacking book boxes. I am trying to put the books out in some logical order. Not Dewey Decimal System or anything like that but by type: Theology, all Biblical References, Biographies, History, World Culture, Computer, Novels, etc. Within category by author or editor. That makes putting books up a bit slower than I would like but I would like to have some order to them, if possible. I'll get back to unpacking and organizing books after we finish the tile, though. Tile has got to take priority. School starts week after next for Phil and that means that I will do what I can and then save the hard stuff for him for weekends. He'll love that. On the other hand, I may be pressed to learn how to do some things I would not have tried. I'll love that.
Monday, August 4, 2008
The guys from Best Countertops arrived at about 9:30 this morning. They went right to work installing the counter top. This time they were the correct color.
Friday, August 1, 2008
Monday, July 28, 2008
spread a blanket on the living room floor and celebrated Phil's birthday on Saturday. We did not work on the house. We rested!
Phil also finished the pantry shelves. They are super sturdy. Once they were all in place I screwed a 2 x 4 flat to the top of the canned goods shelf. This will provide for a little height for the those cans in the rear of the shelf. Make things easier to find. And then I repainted everything. Once dry--and I could hardly wait for that--I began unpacking boxes and loading the shelves. Between Phil's kitchen, my kitchen at Falfurrias and the makeshift kitchen we have here, I found lots and lots of dupes. I have enough poultry seasoning to season all the chicken on "Chicken Run". Won't need to buy any of that for awhile either. We will not be buying pork and beans for a while or pasta. Some things that we use a lot, we just have a lot of. And easily, one half of one of these long shelves is taken up by spices. So, I have decided to build a spice rack so I can free up the shelf space and see the spices. But it is nice to have everything in one place where it can be seen, sorted and used easily.
Saturday, July 19, 2008
When we installed the kitchen cabinets, the corner unit--a lazy susan and not quite as deep as a regular cabinet--left a gap about 6 inches deep. Wasted space! I thought maybe I could make a little storage unit for DVDs since this side faces the living room. So last night I went to work measuring and drawing. There was just enough scrap left over from the bookcases to make the whole thing from red oak. Admittedly, I did have to cut two of the shelves across the grain but I did strengthen them with a 1 x 2 facing. I tried, as much as possible, to emulate the design of the bookcases for continuity's sake. I think I succeeded. To my immense delight, the little unit slid right into place, flush with the wall. We'll put a piece of backing board on the cabinet to the right and it will then be flush with the cabinet. Do we paint or stain? That's the next question. But I won't think about it today. I stuck some DVDs in the unit for the picture so you can get a feel for its size.
While I was working on this project and doing laundry, Phil textured the one remaining dining room wall. He has gotten quite good at applying texture. He did a really nice job. After that he went back to work on the pantry. Each shelf has a center cleat that is 18-inches long and two brackets. Today he installed the center cleats and began screwing down all the brackets and then anchoring the shelves to the cleats. It is a tedious job. Lots of screws. He's not done yet. There's probably another full day of work left in there.
All in all, a productive day. Monday I'll be painting in the dining room and hopefully putting the finishing paint on the pantry shelves.
Thursday, July 17, 2008
I covered the bookcases with huge sheets of plastic and taped it. I covered the ceiling fan with garbage bags and taped every possible opening. I covered all door openings with sheets of plastic which are are kind of folded back for now but ready.
Its actually a good thing I had nothing to do that required any skill. The cat was up in the middle of the night barfing. I mean really barfing. She's 22 years old and her digestive system does not work all that well. sometimes. I sat with her while she barfed. She was very vocal and clearly agitated. After a while I picked her up and held her and petted her. She relaxed. And peed all over my feet. I put her down and she crawled into a corner and went to sleep. It sort of reminded me of when my daughter was little and woke up sick in the night. "Momma, momma, I don't feel so...." and she puked cherry Kool-Aid all over me. "Do you feel better now?" "Yes" "Okay, go back to bed." Yes, that really happened. I still can't drink cherry Kool-Aid. Fortunately, I'm not into catfood. But I also didn't sleep all that good either. So, I'm tired and cranky today. I used a lot of tape and little to no finesse when I taped all that plastic up.
Meanwhile, Phil got 20 cleats installed--1 for each end of each shelf. When the taping was done and the cleats installed, I painted one side of each shelf. Tomorrow after he installs the center cleat and the brackets, I'll flip the shelves and paint the other side. Then we'll screw the shelves in place and we will have a pantry. That means we'll be able to put things in it. Functional! It won't be long now.
I went to Home Depot and paid the balance on the countertop. They should be calling me soon to let me know when it will be installed. I am getting impatient. It will happen before we know it and then we will begin to tile. Woohoo!
Tuesday, July 15, 2008
Thursday, July 10, 2008
Here's what we learned. We have to work together. We have to be patient with each other. I tend towards dyslexia when I'm tired and get things measured and put together all bassackwards. Phil gets tired and bullies the wood. Eat. Remember to eat. Take breaks. It doesn't all have to be done today. Let the task dictate the rythm. Think about work arounds. We wanted those corners to come together neatly and our first thought was to run out and buy L-brackets. We stood there for the longest time before we realized all we really need to do was drill a hole and screw them together. Think alternatives.
Wednesday, July 9, 2008
We went to Fredericksburg yesterday after putting up the two shelves. We both had dental cleanings with Veronica. Visited with Mo and cousin Sandy. Spent a little leasure time at our home there. Raided my daughter's freezer for dinner and then headed home well rested and ready to go back to work.
Monday, July 7, 2008
Saturday, July 5, 2008
Late yesterday afternoon as I was preparing to cut another length of wood, some of the teenagers who hang out across the street came out and headed east. Five girls and one boy. One of the girls was falling down drunk or drugged. Couldn't tell which. Might have been both. I heard one of the girls say, "She took my shot". Probably doing tequila shooters or something. Parents were not home. Anyway, the guy was yelling at one of the other girls to take care of her friend. There seemed a general reluctance to do so as she was sitting in the street drooling like she was going to puke. That girl was way drunk. I put my stuff down and went out into the street. I asked if they needed me to call 911. No, No they said, we're taking her home. Are her parents home? Yes. You know she could die from alcohol poisoning or she could lay down, puke and die by drowing in her own vomit. She can't be left alone. Are her parents home? Will someone be with her? yes, yes. They picked her up and one on either side of her walked/dragged her down the street.
Another boy appeared on the scene just as they were dragging her away. He assured me that they would take care of her. How old is she? Eighteen. Still too young to be drinking alcohol. Were drugs involved? No. Just drinking. Go take care of your friend. Make sure someone stays with her.
The parents, who had just recently arrived, came out and got in their truck. Visited briefly with them. Voiced my concern about the girl again: too young to drink, to drunk to be left alone as could die by either cause which I voiced again. We didn't know. We weren't here. Hey, we're the grownups. We have to make sure they understand this kind of behavior is unacceptable. Yeah, yeah. Drive away.
The other day a possum turned up in one of the neighbors fenced in front yards. Their dogs were playing with it. They had no tags on--were they vaccinated for rabies and distemper? This couldn't be good for them to be playing with a possum who was playing possum but snarling and showing his teeth. Reverse lookup on the web showed no phone number. Googled the address and found a website with their address. Called it and left a message. Shortly after, the possum was gone from the yard. Later I saw them, introduced myself and told them my concerns. Yeah, yeah. If I didn't qualify as THE NOSEY NEIGHBOR after the possum incident, I do now.
The young man turned up later and introduced himself. Begged me not to call the cops. He's on probation. We talked. Actually, he made a lot of excuses and kept begging me to not call the cops. I talked to him like he was my own red-headed step-child. Told to him to take responsibility for this, for the care of his friend and to accept whatever grief his parents give him like a man. I won't call the cops if you don't give me reason to do so. Did he hear? I hope so.
That was 4th of July in our neighborhood.
Friday, July 4, 2008
Wednesday, July 2, 2008
This picture shows the corner of the kitchen just adjacent to the the new pantry. Note the hole in
Monday, June 30, 2008
I have never built a bookcase before. The only thing I've ever built was a bed for my grandson. That was a success primarily due to the brackets which hold it all together. Built-in bookcases, on the other hand, would be a challenge.
I started by researching bookcase plans on the internet. I found these PLANS at Black and Decker's website. I followed the instructions for the kitchen unit closely as I could. Tried to do everything just right. When I was done, I had a very expensive built-in bookshelf. Looks great.
You can see it through the framed in wall of the pantry.
The only problem with the bookcase was that if I was going to complete the next phase, which was to build bookcases along a 16 foot stretch of wall, I couldn't afford to build it as the plans directed. The plans call for the entire unit to be made with red oak, with the exception of the sole plates which are 2 x 4's. Red oak is very expensive. So I went to work revising the plans. In the end, I chose to use a less expensive wood for the interior and for the shelves. This would have consequences during the building and later during finishing.
Here is a picture of the 16-foot wall before bookcases. Kind of bare, isn't it? I went to work. Most Fridays and half of Saturdays during April and May. Then we moved in at the end of May. I went to work on them full time...at least as full time as my strength would allow. Carpentry is hard work and I am old, fat and out of shape. My husband, Phil, helped me with the things I physically could not do--like installing sole plates in the overhead, removing wood screws with stripped heads and stuff like that. Couldn't have done it without him. Especially when I came to the point where I discovered the wood I was using was warped and was causing the whole project to be out of alignment. He was able to muscle a couple of boards and 2 x 4's into place and shape for me. I think next time, though, I would go back to the store and buy straight wood. The warped stuff, no matter how straight it appears, is still warped. Later, when it came to making shelves, I discovered that two units were more suited to trapzoidal shaped shelves than rectangular. I ended up cutting shelves for each bookcase sized to the bookcase. This means that while the shelves are somewhat adjustable within each unit, the shelves are not suited for moving between units.
Here is a picture of the completed bookshelves. Look carefully and you can see that each upright has holes in it for the pegs that hold the shelves. I made a template out of peg board and a jig for my drill to make sure the holes are not too deep and went to work. Phil said that I drilled around 750 holes. Dang! There are a total of 27 adjustable shelves and 6 non-adjustable shelves. The fifth unit has an extra-deep non-adjustable shelf for my keyboard. The wood on the interior and from which shelves were made was the white pine 12-inch wide boards available at Lowe's and Home Depot. Doesn't matter where you buy them, just be careful to inspect for warping. Store them flat rather than on end to prevent further warping. I faced the entire unit with red oak. This gives the face of the unit a nice clean appearance that matches the kitchen unit which is just on the other side of the far right of this unit.
I'll talk about finishing the unit later.