Thursday, November 20, 2014

Unexpected Moola and Solar Lights

Moola, payola, bucks, or cold cash is always good whether expected or not.  But a while back I had to go into the bank (I'm a drive thru gal) and talk with someone about my debit card and also deposit a check from Ebates.

While I was taking care of business with a personal banker, they informed me that I had over $180 in rewards and how did I want them rewarded, cash or deposit?  I asked if I could "let it ride"....LOL Good thing I didn't add "on red 7".  She said "no" because they no longer offer rewards on debit cards.  So I had her deposit the money in my account along with my Ebates check.
Now the Ebates check was free money, too.  I've spoke about Ebates before but with the gift giving holidays fast approaching, now is the time to sign up for Ebates.  It's free and gives you % back when you purchase online as long as you go to the desire website directly from the Ebates site.

Here's an example.  I'm always looking on eBay for vintage items for the house.  The other day I found a black iron thumb latch door handle on eBay.  It was a Buy it Now item so I added it to my watch list.  I then went to Ebates and clicked on the list of stores, then clicked on eBay.  It opened a ticket for me, then transferred me to eBay where I then purchased the door handle.  Not only did I receive 5% back from Ebates but I also accumulated some eBay Bucks through their rewards program.  The percentage is different for each store and sometimes the % changes for eBay.

My bloggy friend mentored me on the art of "playing all the angles".  Yvonne and her husband even order online when they purchase items at Home Depot and then they pick the items up at the store and pay with a credit card that gives them rewards.  So they get double rewards.

So last night I ordered 3 solar lights on the Home Depot website.  First, I went to Ebates and clicked on stores, scrolled down to and clicked on Home Depot which opened a ticket and sent me to the Home Depot site.  I added the 3 solar lights to my cart and checked out after clicking on store pick up.  This will save me shipping cost.

The lights that I chose were quite inexpensive at $9.99 each.  The solar lights clamp onto your eave troughs and shine down which should provide enough to illuminate the kitchen door without costing a dime of electricity.  I'll let you know how they work after I install them.  Fingers crossed because it's a clever idea.
I also order online at Ace Hardware, pick up in store, and use my Ace Rewards card that gives you a $5.00 coupon for every $200 spent.  Recently I used a special coupon that they sent me for 20% off my entire purchase.  I've been wanting a LARGE metal mailbox and by using my coupon I saved $8.00.

With the gift giving season just around the corner, now is the time to sign up at Ebates.  It's free to register and they give you a choice of $10 gift cards.  When you sign up, make sure you download the toolbar widget thingy that prompts you when you happen to go to a website that is on the Ebates list.

Do you buy toys?  Toys R Us is on the list and Toys R Us also has a perk program that gives you 5 bucks for every $125 you spend. Do you travel and use Travelocity?  It's on the list.  Home Depot, Lowe's, Macy's, and Lumber Liquidator's are just a few.  Pretty much all the major stores and even some obscure stores.

When you sign up please use this link, I will get credit and you will get the gift card.  You in turn can get your friends to sign up and you will get credit and they get a free gift card.  Your Ebates Fat Check will be sent out quarterly.

FYI while at the bank they informed me that I should switch from using a debit card and go back to a credit card so that I can get rewards.  I also found out that you have more protection coverage if your card is hacked and used illegally.  A debit card can sometimes only cover up to $500 dollars and the credit card company requires that you contact them within a short amount of time. I forgot what she said because I was thinking about how I was going to spend my free money.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Purchase your Christmas Tree Online and Save $$$$$

Do you use a fresh tree for your Christmas tree but just do not have the time to go and pick one? Thanks to the Internet, you can buy your Fraser Fir tree online and have it delivered to your door step.

But wait.....first you need to sign up for Ebates.  By signing up for Ebates you will receive a $10.00 gift card and save 6% on a Groupon Coupon that will save you even more money on your fresh, home delivered, Christmas tree.

Use this link to sign up for Ebates and I will also get a bonus.  Everyone saves.

Once you have signed up for Ebates go to Groupon from the Ebates site.  That will save you 6% on your Groupon coupon for a Fraser Fir Christmas tree from the Five Star Christmas Tree Co.

Offer expires on November 21st and deliveries will be made the week of December 1st. with delivery information sent to you on November 28th.  Easy peasey.

This is the link to the Detroit area deal.  If you live elsewhere, you will need to search your area Groupon.

http://www.groupon.com/deals/five-star-christmas-tree-co-1-1-detroit   

Choose from Three Options

  • $59 for one 5’–6’ Fraser fir Christmas tree (a $139 value)
  • $69 for one 6’–7’ Fraser fir Christmas tree (a $159 value)
  • $79 for one 7’–8’ Fraser fir Christmas tree (a $179 value)
Plus....you are going to save 6% on your Groupon.

You should sign up for Ebates if you order anything online.  A lot of the vintage items that I purchase for our house are purchased off of eBay.....like our vintage mail box.  Right now they are offering 6% off on eBay purchases as long as you to to eBay directly from the Ebates site.  I even downloaded the toolbar app so that it will prompt me when I go to a site that is covered by Ebates.

Why spend more when you can save so easily.  Good luck.  Happy shopping and saving!!!!


Friday, November 14, 2014

New Door Bell Button

The polar vortex has arrived.  It was so bitterly cold today that what should have been an hour job took us over three hours to finish.  My fingers were so numb I could hardly hold on the the large square head screws that hold the iron straps in place.

After looking at the long range forecast we decided to just reinstall the iron straps on the door and forget about priming the door this year.  We also installed the door bell button and the door knocker. Now that it gets dark by 530pm I could only get a photo of the front entry because I had to use the flash on my camera.

Tomorrow I need to cut some greens to make wreaths.  My sister suggested adding stag horn fern seed heads to add some color, so I will need to cut those as well.  I was at Michael's last night and purchased a small square wreath frame.  I am hoping that if I rotate it 45 degrees I can make a diamond shape wreath to hang around the diamond shape window on the front door.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

This is where we stop...for now

We are officially done with work on the outside exterior of the house.....until spring.  I really dislike this time of the year.  It gets dark far too early, it's cloudy, cold, and windy almost every single day.   I can handle (with  a little whining of course) pretty much whatever is doled out to me weather wise except for the no sunshine part. That is by far the most difficult part of winter. 
We are going to leave open the possibility of at least getting the front door primed.  I don't think it would be possible to get a nice smooth semi gloss finish with these temps even if we painted with a heater.  Primer on the other hand is absorbed and dries fast.  If we do get it primed our plan is to reinstall the hammered iron straps and door knocker just so that from the road it will look finished.
Plus, it will look soooo much better when I hang the Christmas wreath on the door.  AND here is another gratuitous photo of my vintage mail box.  I'm not sure if we are suppose to put our name or the address into that recessed slotted area above the pad lock.  R thinks he can stamp a piece of brass or copper and then slightly bow it to get it into place.
The temps are dropping fast and I just looked at the weather prediction for the next week or so.  Brrrrrrrrrrr.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Vintage Cast Iron Mail Box and Winterizing the Casa

I really wish that I had just one more week of good weather.  There are so many little odds and ends that I would like to cross off my list but thanks to another polar vortex, that will probably be impossible.

Today we worked outside until it was dark, which is now just 530PM.  Here in the north, we have to put away items that might crack when it freezes or winterize other items that will remain outside through the next 5-6 months of cold weather.  Notice that I didn't say 'winter' and that's because cold weather arrives before the actual start of winter and will continue on even after it is still technically 'spring'.

So today I did the following in preparation for the big chill.

1. Stored the glazing balls inside.  Since they are round and can roll, it is a pain to store these but I love them so I deal with it.

2. Turned over the concrete bird bath bowls so that they cannot fill with water that will freeze.  When the water freezes it can cause damage to the bird bath bowl.

3.  Put away the garden hoses.  It is best to drain and coil them while it is still warm outside.  Our yard has a lot of hills so I just stretch them out so that the water can run out of them with the help of gravity.  When I lived in a house with a flat yard I had to blow the water out,  Back then I had better lungs.  It is best to coil up the hoses on a sunny day so that the hoses are more pliable.  I use duct tape to keep them from uncoiling until I need them again in the spring.  We store our hoses in the basement part of our garden shed.

4.  Pull up all the annuals, rake up the leaves, twigs, and needles that are on the driveway.  We can't possibly rake up all the leaves that fall in our yard.  Even if we could it would be a waste of time because throughout the winter additional leaves will blow into the yard and drop from the pin oaks later in the spring.

5.  Put away ladders, wood, garden tools etc.

6.  Plant garlic.  I'm kind of late on this chore.  We planted three types this year, Cherokee Red, Homestead, and Hardy German.   I also planted 3 Knockout roses that I bought last Saturday for $3.00 each.  We decided to plant them in the garden in their pots so that in the spring I can relocate them permanently.  Where that will be is unknown but at 3 bucks each I just had to buy them.

7.  Move the snow blowers to the front of the shed by the door and move the lawnmowers to the back.

8.  Drain the gas from the lawnmowers and the weed whackers.  Fill the tanks of the snow blowers (2).

9.  Walk around and check to make sure that the eave troughs are not plugged with twigs, leaves or walnuts.

10. Make sure that anything that can blow away or blow over is secured.

11.  Turn over wrought iron chairs and remove glass tops and store in garage.  Always store glass table tops on their edge, which is the strongest part of the glass.

12.  Make sure the windows in the barn and garden shed are secured shut.  Some have locks and others have bent nails for locks (these will be changed when we restore those windows).

We are done with painting and priming this year.  Should the weather ease up a bit after the big P.V. we might prime and paint the front door.  By hanging plastic and using our ceramic heater, I think we could get away with painting while it is 40 degrees outside.  We still have some caulking to do and some white trim that needs a top coat but that can wait until next spring if we cannot get to it.

Once the door is painted we can install the new bronze weather stripping that we ordered.  We ordered enough to do all of our exterior doors.  This allowed us to save on shipping by getting it all in one shipment.

The vintage mail box is installed and has the vintage pad lock attached.  We love the look and think that it really helps in recreating that 1920-1930 feel.


Friday, November 7, 2014

Mail boxes...then and now

Most people don't give a second thought to their mail boxes.  As long as the door closes and opens and the mail box post is some what vertical......they call it good.  I've always had a 'thing' for a good mail box and a nice mail box post.

Several years ago, we updated the mail box post and mail box with a plastic version that matched the wrought iron driveway gates.  You need to be fairly close to realize that it isn't iron and we were satisfied and happy with the outcome.

In rolls the winter of 2013-2014 and the plow blasted our mail box and post three times.  It's frustrating. R was able to fix it but the mail box had seen better days.  I receive a lot of packages and I prefer a large mail box so when Ace hardware sent me a one day 20% off coupon, I took the chance to get the LARGEST mail box they offered.  It's metal and should hold up to the force of the snow better than the plastic mail box.

R will install the mail box next year but right now we are installing a vintage mail box on the front of the house.  It's a vintage Griswold mail box with the newspaper brackets still attached.  Griswold is the same company that makes the cast iron frying pans.

The mail box was in pretty bad condition when I purchased it off of eBay.  I have no idea how many coats of paint were on the mail box but after sand blasting it, I still needed to use an Exacto knife to get the paint out of the crevices.  I then sand blasted it again, primed it, and spray painted it satin black.  Then stored it away for the last 6 years until I brought it out two weeks ago covered in dust.

We marked where we wanted to hang the mail box after we finished installing the shingles.  It was then that we realized that we needed to cut out a 1/2 thick piece to place under the lower portion of the mail box so that it would be vertical when installed.  After tracing the outline of the bottom of the mail box on a 1/2 inch thick piece of cedar, we used a coping saw to cut out the profile.

While we had the mail box out, we noticed that it has a place to install a small pad lock to keep the mail secure.  This mail box isn't intended for use because we receive our mail out at the street.  But for the sake of authenticity, we thought we should look for a small vintage pad lock.  All of our lock sets are Corbin so imagine my surprise when I found a small Corbin pad lock on Etsy.  It has the same logo as the cylinder lock just two foot away.  The pad lock even has the key.  The tag on the key says 'wood chest'  so that must have been it previous use.  The lock currently has lacquer on it so I will remove that so it can tarnish more evenly.  Eventually I will hang the key on a hook by the front door.

I was able to get half of the front entrance primed before the rain started.  Even though I wasn't looking forward to the rain, it gave us the chance to see if the PVC drip edge that we installed under the bottom row of shingles, would help keep the shingles from wicking water.  So far so good.

Monday, October 27, 2014

New Front Door Casing

The viable outside work days are winding down fast and before we know it, it will be winter. Because of this, we are steadily working to finish the front of the house.  We have removed the non original door casing on the front door and rebuilt it based on the other original exterior door casings. Those doors have 5 inch wide casings but we constructed these to be 6 inches wide so that they lined up with the edge of the concrete threshold.  The casings were made of 2X8's ripped down to 6 inches wide.

The next part of the front door rebuild consisted of reshingling but first we needed to come up with a plan to keep the shingles off the concrete porch.  Obviously the original set up was not ideal because rain water would flow back towards the house saturating the cedar shingles and then making it's way behind the porch and between the porch and cement block wall.

First things first, we needed to remove all the dirt and debris so that we could get a good look.  This is where the air gun worked like a charm to blow out the debris.  We were left with a space about 3/4 inch deep.

We fixed any missing tar paper and covered the area with metal flashing.  The flashing was pushed down as far as we could and then nailed just at the top.  Now what?  We had to find a way to keep the shingles from wicking up moisture AND stop the water from running under the shingles.  I had previously used some solid PVC drip edge over the tops of a few windows and still had some left over in my wood pile (I don't have a PVC pile).

I also had an almost full tube of clear silicone.  So R filled up the void with clear silicone and then ran a bead of silicone on the bottom of the PVC drip edge.  We then set the drip edge onto the silicone.
We have no idea if this is going to keep the water from getting behind the porch but we think it will keep the moisture from getting to the shingles.  


We have 1 1/2 rows left to complete on this side of the door.  The other wall will require some sheathing repair because of water damage (no eave trough when we purchased the house).  Then we will repeat the the PVC drip edge/silicone process and then reshingle.  Rain is in the forecast for Tuesday so we are under the gun, so to speak.

Update....the window well that we installed in front of the coal door is working like a charm. Between the well and the additional top soil that we added has kept the rain water from draining towards the house. Love it when something does work as planned.

Speaking of working......several years ago I purchased three very expensive light bulbs for the front porch light and the two lights on the brick pillars on each side of the driveway gate.  Three weeks after installing them, they quit working.  But because they all quit at the same time I thought we had cut a wire etc.  Before R removed the porch light he tried a brand new light bulb and low and behold it worked.  Really?  The last three years we have gone without a light and all it was was a burnt out light bulb.  So I purchased an LED bulb and we'll see how long that will last.