Thursday, February 19, 2015

The Best Dryer Vent

The best dryer vent????  Really? Yes, really.

I can't tell you how many times in the past that I have had to turn the dryer back on to warm already dried clothes.  Our old dryer vent was the plastic louver style which was a slight upgrade from our previous traditional sheet metal vent.

The problem with the plastic louver style is that over time the plastic gets warped and allows cold air to enter the dryer vent and ultimately the dryer.  There have been times during the winter where the cold air has entered the dryer and even cooled the laundry room.  So when I decided to buy a new dryer vent to replace the warped louver style vent I decided to search around and see what was out there.

I searched for dryer vent and came up with an interesting vent called the Deflecto Ultra Seal 4" Dryer Vent.  The reviews were great with a lot of the reviewers mentioning how well it kept the cold air from coming into the dryer.

I purchased ours off of eBay and it arrived in less than a week and the total cost was $26.40. Installation was straight forward and took longer to find the correct size screw driver than to unscrew the 4 screws that held the old vent in place and to install the new vent using the four existing holes.

The very first time I opened the dryer door I noticed the lack of cold air in the dryer.  The manufacturer says it cuts drying time but I don't hang around my dryer close enough to be able to make a determination on whether the drying time has been reduced.  The laundry room is definitely warmer, especially on cold windy winter days than it was with the old louver style vent.

The way that this vent closes and opens makes it self sealing with the help of gravity.  When the dryer is turned on, the cup that covers the vent pipe lifts up and allows the air to escape.  When the dryer turns off the cup floats back down over the pipe.   For added protection there is a larger permanent covering that keep the floating cup from flying off and keeps the weather from coming in. This dryer vent would also be perfect for weekend or seasonal homes where there is a need to make sure little critters do not gain entry through your dryer vent.

I did read in the reviews that you should paint the plastic to protect it but I think I will refrain from that because my vent is in a protected area out of direct sunlight.  I do wish it was offered in pure white instead of the off white ivory color.  They call it white but it's not white white. The ivory color works well with the brick on the Torrey Road house but I can see it being unappealing against the dark grey shingles and the white trim.  So when we install the dryer vent at The Gear I will probably paint it dark grey to blend into the shingles.

We are giving this dryer vent a big thumbs up.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

The Winter Blahs, Curbside Treasures, Vintage Shower Head

I just want it to be 32 degrees.  This bitter cold makes you want to stay inside and do nothing and that's pretty much what we have done this past week....NOTHING.

We braved outside temps in the teens and twenties and finished removing all the cut wood and brush. About 90% of the brush has been burned but the snow is now too deep to finish burning.  Today's temps were in the single digits but at least we are not getting a lot of snow like on the east coast.  I guess that is sort of a silver lining.......maybe???

Before we went into hibernation mode we did score several curbside treasures.  That's usually a spring, summer, and fall phenomenon but leave it to R to spot something cool.  He found two pressed back oak chairs in wonderful condition. Unfortunately they were not my style, so off to CraigsList they went and two days later we had 40 bucks.  So what did we do with the free cash?

We bought a huge vintage shower head.  Why?  I don't know.....LOL  We just thought it would look cool if we ever had an outdoor shower.  The shower head is huge and has a chain to turn on the water and weighs about 10 pounds.

Trips to Goodwill to drop off items that are still good, but are a pain to sell, have been happening quite frequently lately.  One day on the way home from Goodwill we spotted a round solid oak pedestal table with claw feet.  The reason it was at the curb was because it has tile inlay on the top and the tile was cracked other than that, the table was fine.  So we threw it in the barn and I'll list it in the spring on CraigsList.  Maybe I can make a few bucks and buy something else that we don't need.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Tree Cutting and Blog Comments

I mentioned that we cut down a large box elder tree that was hanging over the old tennis court.  We have the large part cut up into small chunks and several huge piles of small branches.  Our problem is that because it is inside the fenced in tennis court, we need to haul out the pieces in a small cart and then pull them uphill and into the front side yard where we have a humongous pile of cut wood.

Needless to say, this has been slow going.  But it does look a lot better.  R still needs to trim down the stump but right now there is snow on the ground and he needs to stand on the side of a slope to cut off the stump so we may wait until warmer drier weather to do that.

I was shocked to find out that I had oodles of comments that I was unaware of and went unpublished. There must be a problem because I am suppose to get a notification so I can publish the comment.  I think I will unable the comment moderation and keep my fingers crossed that the spammers do not come back.  In the mean time I published all the comments but I noticed that some did not generate an email notification.  I know that those who use google+ have their comments automatically posted so that might be an option for those who's comments are not coming through.

In the mean time, I am sorry if it looked like I was ignoring your comments because I always enjoy hearing from readers.  Marti.....I am really having a problem with your comments.  I published them but did not get a notification of publish so I cannot check to see if they actually published because I forgot which posts were the ones that you commented on.

In other news....I'll take a photo of the new dryer vent and let you guys know whether we love it or not. Doesn't that sound interesting?????  I also need to up date the solar lights that we installed on our eave troughs.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Here's to a great 2015

I had such high hopes when it came to getting things done this winter.  The end of 2014 was a busy one as we were able to cut down a large box elder tree and nearly get it cubed and put into the 'give away' wood pile. But I'm still optimistic that 2015 will be the year that The Gear shows a lot of change.

December was a busy month.  We got a lot done and even started a large project outside but that came to a screeching halt.   As we were cutting up wood, from the large box elder, on December 29th it started getting colder and colder.  You could actually feel the temperature drop and drop and drop. The wood is now covered in snow and ice and the air is so cold my camera would not come on when I went to take a photo.  I took that as a sign to go inside and warm up.  But we are still happy with what we were able to get done.  Not only was it a big money saver (at least $750 bucks stays in our pocket) AND a long time eye sore is gone in our back yard.

R has been busy helping his doctor buy a pick up truck with a plow and I've been busy fighting off a sinus infection and possibly the flu.  I've had a flu shot but I'm feeling very puny like the start of the flu.  So I've been sleeping a lot while I wait for the warm up which is suppose to come on Sunday.

We, and of course the rest of Michigan, spent last Sunday having our heart broken yet again.  So many bad calls.  It makes my head hurt just thinking about it.  I'll be cheering on Green Bay and acting like a born and breed cheese head this Sunday.

I've also ordered several cut out wood pieces to update my wreath for Valentine's Day.  My plan is to leave the wreath up until after St. Patrick's Day but just make small changes throughout the winter. So far the snowflake looks great with the white trim on the house and the dusting of snow on the ground.

By this time last year, our mail box had already been knocked off the post at least once.   By the end of winter it was in pieces and had flown down the street three times thanks to the snow plow.  Fingers crossed that it stays attached to the post this winter.

Hope you have a great 2015!

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Early Spring Clean Up

Here we are just one week into the official winter season and it was 50 degrees at 5:35 in the evening. We decided to use this unseasonably warm weather to get an early start on raking out the flower beds.

Today was a rather odd day.  Although it was warm by winter standards it was still a little crisp.  Had the sun been able to peek through the thick clouds we might have had a stellar day.  The clouds were so thick that it appeared to be twilight all afternoon.

We were able to get the flower bed in front of the living room raked out and all the perennials cut back.  If the weather is rake worthy on Sunday we will continue around the north side and clear out the hosta beds around the sun room.

Early Saturday before we raked we changed out the magnetic weatherstripping on two doors at the Torrey Rd house.  Each door cost $17.95 to R&R (remove and replace) the weather stripping.  The magnetic weatherstripping was ineffective because of age.  The old pieces were compressed and no longer blocked the cold air from coming into the house.

R also R&R the dryer vent.  I purchased a unique dryer vent that is suppose to block the cold air from coming into your dryer and extending drying time and cooling off the laundry room. I'll do a blog post once I have had a chance to check out it's performance.  In theory it should work great but I want to see for myself before I say anything.

I hope everyone had a great Christmas.  I know, I did.  Lots and lots of good food.  Seriously, I can hardly move.  Too many goodies.  My sister out did herself in the cooking/baking category this year.  

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Monogrammed Snowflake Wreath

There were two things that I wanted to accomplish with my large wreath.  #1 was that any embellishment on the wreath must be able to be seen from the road.  Our house sits back from the road and any small doo dads like pine cones and bows cannot be seen.  #2 it couldn't be just a Christmas or holiday wreath.  The wreath had to work until the weather changed.  So it had to be a winter wreath.

So in a nut shell....I needed something big and wintery like a big snowflake. But I didn't know I wanted a snowflake until I saw this one.
What I knew I wanted was a monogram.  A big old "H".  So I went surfing the web for a large wood cut out of an H and landed at Unfinished Wood Co.  I found this snowflake H when I searched their selection of seasonal monograms.  I knew the moment I saw it that it would be perfect. For directions to making the evergreen wreath, go here.
The snowflake arrived within 3 weeks unpainted but ready to paint.  I used a emery board for acrylic nails to soften the sharp edges but that step is not needed. I then drilled a small hole at the top so I could thread a length of wire through it to attach the snowflake to the wreath.
I brushed on three coats of white craft paint using a flat artist brush. If I was to do this again I would spray paint this snowflake because of all the little tight spots and inside corners that were really difficult to paint.  I also painted both the front and back because this was hanging on the outside of my living room window and would be seen from inside of the house.
The snowflake is large enough to be seen from the road and then there is the added surprise of when you get close enough you can see the monogram.
I love this wreath because it will work well throughout the winter.  So often by the time Christmas arrives we are already burned out on the decorations.  So many stores and businesses decorate for the holidays sooooooo early that we are really ready for a decoration break by January.  This snowflake and wreath are simple yet bold without a lot of busy sparkly design that scream DECEMBER. Another plus is that it is reusable not only in this application but can be used alone on the front door or even indoors.  Maybe next year I will add a little glass glitter to make it sparkle like snow.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Making Wreaths and Adding Greens to the Window Boxes

This last week I assembled a large wreath with pine boughs which I will use in the living room window and a small diamond shape wreath that I made for the small window in the front door.

Both wreaths were basically assembled in the same manner but because I used different types of greens the end result looks very different.  For the large wreath, I used very floppy long needle pine with the still attached small pine cones.  Using this type of pine will give you a more relaxed casual wreath.

The small diamond shape wreath was made with spruce cuttings and this gives a denser thicker more traditional wreath.  I had limited available space around the window on the door so this worked perfect.

Once you buy your wreath frames, the yearly cost for making wreaths will be zero as long as you do not need to buy cuttings.  In addition to the frame, you will need a paddle of floral wire.  I buy green but it also comes in silver.

I cut all my greens to around 8-10 inches before I even start.  This will make your wreath making go faster.  If you cut your clippings to size one day and assemble the next day, make sure you store your clippings in a closed plastic bag stored outside.  Warm, dry air is a no no for wreaths....ask my sister. Our first year of wreath making we made A LOT of wreaths.  She made some beautiful blue spruce wreaths that she hung inside her house.  Within days it was raining needles every where.  So even though they look fabulous inside they are really best to use outside.

You'll need a flat surface at least a little bigger than your frame.  Attach your wire to your frame....anywhere.

In your hand assemble 2 or three cuttings and place it either to the outside edge or the inside edge and wrap the wire around the greens and the frame.  Now repeat the process on the remaining side.  Now place your next greens over the bottoms of the previous cuttings to cover the cut ends.  Repeat this process around the entire frame.

You can work in a clockwise or counterclockwise manner.  Whichever works best for you.  The first couple of rows will be the most difficult and slowest.  Once you get your rhythm it will go faster.  Do not try and be perfect.  If after you are done and you find you have a few 'wild hairs' just clip them.

To hang your wreath I use a large heavy duty plastic suction cup on my windows and a little brass nail for the wreath on the door.  It's also easier to add your bow and decorations before you hang your wreath.  In the past I have added pine cones, bows, and small feathered birds (Michaels).  White bows and white doves or red bows and red cardinals are some of my favs.  There also peacocks which would look great with ribbon that looks like peacock feathers.

I've already hung my big wreath before I finished decorating it because I wasn't done painting the decoration that I am adding.  My leftover greens were added to the window box.  Remember to save your ribbon spools so that you can store your ribbon after you take down your wreaths.  I just unwire the ribbon and roll it back on to the spool.  This saves space and keeps the ribbon from getting crinkled.  I need to reposition the bow on the front door wreath.  The wind was blowing quite briskly and now my bow looks like a wreath hat.
Why are my photos always so crooked?  It has to be the camera.