Friday, April 30, 2010

What A Day!!!

Today was a glorious day. The temperature hit 80 degrees on this last day of April. The only drawback was that it was sooooo windy. But I'll take windy over snow and cold any day. But I really need just one day without wind or rain to get a small list of projects completed.

R and I ran to Tractor Supply and Home Depot in Fenton, today. At TSC I needed to pick up some fencing for the project I am working on that involves those boards we cut the other day. I practically had to drag R away from the little chicks. Seriously, they are so cute.

We then swung by Home Depot for Scott's black mulch. Last year they charged 5 bucks a bag and they never went on sale. This year all bags of mulch are on sale for $3.88 each including the pricey Scott's mulch. We bought 20 bags of mulch and one hosta plant (Cherry Berry). Oh oh...I'm talking garden stuff and Officer Yvonne from the blog police is going to bust me!!!

Officer Yvonne please allow me to clarify something a wrote about the other day. Remember this photo?I was complaining that the two irises were purple and that the tag said deep wine red. Well now look at them. One is still purple but the other is kind of on the wine side.
Purple iris.
Wine colored iris.
OK Officer Yvonne, I promise to put all further garden related posts on my garden blog.

On a totally different topic. Racing. G (our son) starts his racing season tomorrow night when he fields the Kanrock Tire, Races on the Web, and Bryant Engine Building winged sprint car at Crystal Speedway. G will be running with the SOD (Sprints on Dirt) series this year. R (husband) will probably race here and there but he isn't committing to a lot of races this summer.If you are confused as to who is who. G races the sprint car with the awning (wing) and R races topless (wingless).

Good luck to both.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Too Cold and Too Windy

The weather has slowed our progress on removing old paint from the outside of the house. It's a no win situation when the temperature is in the 50's and the wind is blowing 15 mph because of this we have been forced to find other smaller projects until we can get back to stripping and sanding paint.

So for the last two day we have been cleaning out the front flower/shrub bed by the street. This is the area where the tree trimmers removed or trim trees this past winter. Last summer I cut back all the shrubs except for the lilac bushes. I have approximately 15 to 20 feet of fence row left to clean out. Unfortunately for me the remaining shrubs and trees all have large thorns. Once I finish clearing out the unwanted vegetation, we can rent a stump grinder and grind down the tree trunks and what is left of the shrubs I have cut back.

Our plan for this area is to continue adding various varieties of lilacs. The lilacs that are there provide very dense foliage that blocks the view nicely in the summer. Lilacs once they are established are nearly maintenance free, plus there is the added benefit of the fragrant blooms. Nothing smells as wonderful as a lilac bloom....not even a rose.

We have already planted nearly 30 lilac bushes along the inside of the fence. Some are just starting to bloom and some are late bloomers.
The older larger original lilac bushes are now close to 15 feet tall. The first month that we owned the house, R cut all the old lilacs down to about 6 inches. We were then able to remove all the dead wood which has allowed the lilacs to grow back healthier and they are better bloomers now.

Our early tulips are just starting to wind down and the mid to late tulips are getting ready to bloom.
The dwarf irises are just beginning to open up. I purchased these dwarf irises last summer on sale. The tag said the were a deep wine red color called 'Cherry'. Looks purple to me.
I am looking forward to seeing the irises bloom that I received from friends last year. Sandy from Curly's Corner blog sent me a box of blue irises and they are coming up nicely. B & G's neighbor gave me a large tub of yellow irises and they too, are growing nicely.

Irises are a favorite of R. I like irises because like the lilac they are maintenance free and have a great bloom.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Don't Ask....Don't Tell


This is one of those times in life where you think...."I should have paid better attention in school." But even that would not have helped us yesterday when we were cutting the crown molding for the dining room bay window.

In a perfect world the dining room bay windows would be symmetrical and there would have been just 2 different angles....the outside corners would have the same angle and the two center angles would also be the same.....nope, not at Gear Acres.

The outside corners were close at 34 and 35 degrees but the two inside angles were not close. One was 16 degrees and the other was 21 degrees. R thinks the discrepancy was because the fascia board appeared to be slightly warped which skewed the angle.

All that is important is that we were able to nail it in place and that in the end it looks good. As long as you don't tell anyone that the angles are not the same, no one will know. Kind of a version of "Don't ask...don't tell." Oops! I told. Forget what you just read.......Repeat after me...."I know nothing." We have two pieces left to install. The pieces have already been cut but first R needed to epoxy a small area on the fascia board.At the end of the day we both had headaches.


Today we were able to finish up before the rain started at 5PM.

Here is a photo of the epoxy before R started sanding it down.
In this photo he is sanding the epoxy so that it is smooth and undetectable once it is painted.
The finished crown molding installed. This particular trim cannot be seen unless you are up close because the roof shingles obscure the view. We replaced the trim that was there because we were missing one piece and another piece was nearly rotted completely through.
We are pleased with the results despite the fact that it was a brain drain and required numerous trips up and down the ladder. The bottoms of my feet actually were sore Saturday morning from going up and down the ladder all day Friday.

Today we started a garden project. We ripped down a pile of old 2 X 6's that we had saved from an earlier demo project. The 2 X 6's were ripped into lengths 1 3/4 inches wide. My plan is to make tall tomato cages. More on this project as it develops.

Friday, April 23, 2010

New Curbside Treasure

R is at it again!!!

He stopped to picked up some scrap metal that someone had put out to the curb when he found this.I commented that it was too bad there was not a second candle stick. He said he looked but did not find one.

He also found something else but I need to look and make sure all the pieces are there before we claim victory in the curbside treasure department. More on that later.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

More Scraping

I spent yesterday scraping and stripping paint off the cedar shingles on the dining room bay window. Not only does the paint have to be removed from the face of the shingle but also the bottom edge.

Here is a photo of a shingle edge before scraping.And here is a photo after the edge was scraped.
The paint removing is going slow because I also need to remove paint from in between the shingles. Over the years paint has built up between the shingles causing the shingles to bow when they expand due to humidity. Sometimes the shingles do not lay back down flat after the humidity goes away because they get caught on old paint.

It appears that the last several coats of paint were painted without much prep work being done. New paint was laid over chipped and peeling paint, over dirt, and even over partially missing shingles.

R removed the trim piece from around the top of the dining room bay window. The small piece closest to the face of the house was missing and the adjacent piece was rotted on the end. I am hoping to find the same trim piece at Home Depot. If I do I will only need to buy 4 feet. If I cannot locate the exact same trim I will need to buy 14 feet of something similar. Either way the trim needed to come off so I could strip the paint. The weather forecast said rain today. The sky is cloudless. So I guess it is time to mow again.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010


R picked up two old (Victorian era) doors out of some one's trash today. There was absolutely nothing wrong with the doors.

We removed the old hardware and R stored the doors in the barn. Unfortunately when they removed the doors only the door side hinge was left attached. Both doors are missing their jamb side hinge. Too bad. The hinges are cast iron with a decorative pattern.

I picked up where I left off yesterday with scraping the paint off the dining room bay window area. The heat gun worked far better today than it did yesterday. Due to the wind and cold temperatures yesterday the going was slow. Today the wind was minimal and the temps were hovering in the high 50's low 60's. I scraped until my arm said "ENOUGH!"While I scraped R worked in the mudroom area. He thought he was finished when he pulled up the last of the vinyl until I pointed out that there was still underlayment that needed to be pulled up. He was not happy.He was able to remove the underlayment but his hands said "ENOUGH!" so he stopped. Tomorrow he will finish picking up the mess and pull all the nails.Enough said.......Nite.

Monday, April 19, 2010

A Handful of Small Jobs

The weather was rather brisk today so that limited us on what jobs we could work on. So rather than "cut a large swath" as R would say, we chose to get a handful of small jobs done or at least started.

First off.....I installed the decorative metal straps on the Dutch door so that I wouldn't lose any of the decorative square head screws that attach the straps to the door.After I installed the straps on the door, R pulled up the underlayment that was on the landing behind the door. Last year we pulled up the ugly vinyl but never got around to finishing the job. Underneath all the ugliness was a grey painted wood floor that looked just fine. This week we will remove the rotted threshold and replace with a new oak threshold.

That job prompted us to remove the last ugly vinyl in the house. The little mudroom just off the kitchen has the world's ugliest vinyl. Now tell me this......when was this vinyl considered lovely? I think the answer is never. Plus, I have no idea what it matched or coordinated with in the kitchen. Since the room is small, I left R to remove the vinyl and I went outside to remove some paint from around the dining room windows.
Last year the Pink Diamond hydrangeas were so big that I had difficulty getting my ladder in position to scrap paint. By the time winter came I had two areas that I missed above the middle and right side window.

I was able to reach some of the paint above the middle window and started paint removal on the shingles between the windows. By this time the temperature was so low and the wind speed so high that my heat gun was ineffective.
This seemed like a good time to stop for the day.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Doors Doors Doors

It seems that lately everything we do is door related. Last weekend we removed the ugly aluminum storm door that was on the back door. The aluminum door is off to the scrap yard.In it's place we will install a wood storm door I purchased last year from a ReHabitiat store in Battle Creek. But first there are several things that need to happen.

First, I need to strip the white paint off the wood storm door.....oh...oh....under the white paint is red paint. Both the white paint and red are proving difficult to remove. Also it seems the other side is white paint over navy paint over red paint and it is coming off just as slowly.I also need to epoxy the hinge mortises and door handle holes because this door is hinged on the wrong side. Once the holes are filled and the paint removed, I can sand and prime the door.

Second, I need to strip the trim and door jamb. This took several hours because the wind kicked up and was blowing all the heat away from my heat gun. I've completed the paint removal and just need to fill some holes with epoxy and then sand the entire door jamb and frame.The door looks much improved without that ugly aluminum storm. This particular door is a Dutch door. You might also be able to see the outlines of the large decorative metal straps that need to go back on the door. I might put those back on just so I don't lose a screw. I can always remove them again when I stain the door.

Upon closer inspection we realized that the threshold needs to be replaced before the storm door can be installed. R will need to do this before he can rebuild the step. But first it is back to paint removal.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Scored a Wood Storm Door

I emailed a seller on Craigs List about some wood windows and after several emails I found out that they also had several older doors and some wood storm windows. I made arrangements to look at the doors and windows on Saturday.

So today I drove to Davison Michigan to look at the doors and windows. Most of the windows were casement windows that were in great shape but unfortunately I was on the look out for double hung sashes. He had several but they were not the correct size.

I asked about storm windows and he pointed to a handful. All were too narrow but one caught my eye. I whipped out my tape measure and quickly measured. Just my size!!!!

I then realized I hadn't asked about the doors yet. He showed me an exterior door that wasn't my style and 2 older pocket doors but I didn't need those either. There were several doors left and I noticed that one was a wood storm door. I needed a 32 inch wide door for my kitchen door. So I whipped out my tape measure again.

Holy cow today was my lucky day. Not only was the door 32 inches wide but it was hinged on the correct side AND still had the original door handle and lock.

Total cost for storm door and storm window 25 bucks.I was able to fully strip one side and partially strip the other side.
The glass insert will need to be stripped, disassembled, and glued back together but all the parts and glass are there.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Thrifty Trinket

I usually try to stay away from garage sales. I have too much stuff now without adding to it. But every now and again a garage will beckon my name and I can't ignore it.

On Thursday, while I was running errands, I saw an estate sale sign. I almost stopped but talked myself out of it. Two hours later I found myself driving by that same sign. This time I couldn't resist.

I walked around and picked up a 25 cent sewing tin and a brand new mercury glass Christmas ornament for 50 cent. I was on my way to pay the garage sale lady when I realized that I had not checked out the other side of the glassware table.

A quick trip to the other side netted me a great find for 50 cent.Isn't it great? A small cloche and in green seeded glass on top of it.
I see these cloche or bell jars in magazines and design blogs. It's one of those items that you would like to add to your decorating treasure trove but just do not want to pay $29.99 for it.

Just for kicks, I sat it on a lace rimmed milk glass plate and it was just adorable. Now I just have to decide what to put under it.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Game Room/Hallway Door Installed

Last Friday we installed a new French door in the opening between the hallway and game room.

This opening had a door at one time. We know this because of the witness mark of long ago removed hinges. Just like the other openings that were sans their doors, this one too, had been hinged on the opposite side. Whoever hinged these doors many many moons ago, hinged them on the wrong side. Which in turn made the door awkward to use or at the very least the door was in the way. So how did they remedy that problem? Remove the doors. Of course they didn't save the doors so we are always on the lookout for replacement doors, hinges, and door knobs.I know that two of the three bedrooms upstairs have doors that swing out rather than swing into the room. When I get to the paint removal upstairs we will hinge the doors correctly on the appropriate side.

Our door installation on Friday went fairly quickly. The door did not need to be trimmed nor sanded. The only bad part was that about halfway through the installation I started to feel ill. I have spent the last three days in bed with the cold from hell. I would estimate that it has been five years since my last cold.

Having spent the last three days in bed watching TV has made me realize that there is nothing to watch on TV. Lucky for me this past week was Disaster Week on the SyFi Network. It was very informative. Did you know that the moon is going to develop a large crevice but before the space shuttle can blast off a category 5 hurricane will almost stop Stephen Baldwin from welded the moon back together again. No really.

The next disaster was an asteroid headed right towards the earth. The solution this time was to use three jet fighters equipped with lasers to blast the asteroid to pieces but...there's always a of the jets is damaged as it takes off and encounters a.....can you believe this.....a hurricane. All is well though and they blast the asteroid to smithereens only to have little asteroids rain down on Dallas.

The next disaster was right in my neck of the woods...the Midwest. Seems a large tornado producing front meets up with a large front that is over Lake Michigan. The Lake Michigan front has hurricane force winds and when it meets the tornado producing front coming from the south, it produces a Cat 6 storm over Chicago.

By this time, I have seen enough bad acting to last me a lifetime. But there's more. Another asteroid is heading for earth. This time they blow it up with a nuclear warhead. Unfortunately it breaks into 3 large pieces. Two pieces completely miss the earth but the third blows by earth so closely that it pulls the earth slightly out of orbit. This immediately causes the temperature to soar because we are now closer to the sun. I have no idea how this ended but I am sure it had something to do with a hurricane because from what I saw this weekend.....whenever you have asteroids, meteors, or comets you will have hurricanes.

Which brings me back to "The Gear". Just like where there were meteors there were hurricanes, here at "The Gear" where there were doors at one time you will find doors that were hinged on the wrong side.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Kitchen/Hallway French Door

R asked me tonight if we can do something tomorrow that doesn't involve saw dust. Sorry R, no can do. One door to go.

The kitchen/hallway French door took two days to install. We first needed to trim a tad off the top so that it would fit the out of square door opening.We then needed to sand here and there so that the door would have a consistent margin around the door. Look at all the saw dust on the floor.
We then installed the vintage hinges I purchased on eBay. We decided to wait on installing the vintage glass door knobs until later just in case we need to sand some more.

Here is a photo of the door taken from the hallway.
And the view of the new door from the kitchen. Knotty pine, anyone? Visualize the knotty pine painted white. Are you visualizing or just humoring me????
Friday's plan......start installing the door between the hallway and the game room. Saturday's plan is for R to go to the race track with G for practice and to dial in G's sprint car.

Here is a link to a U Tube video of the Michigan Traditional Sprint Car Series 2009 Year in Review. That is the series R raced with last year and won Rookie of the Year despite being one of if not the oldest driver. See if you can pick out B, G, R, and extra points for picking out R's sprint car on the track. Make sure you check out Jack Hewitt's two seat sprint car. He actually takes people for a spin around the track. I was at a race track where you had to pay to enter a raffle for a chance to ride in it. The person that won changed their mind and they had to pull another ticket. Too scary for me that's for sure.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Red Sink....Going Going Gone

I wish every day was like today.

It was great. While we raked, we had people stop and give us money. OK, they just didn't stop and hand over money. It was more like as soon as I listed items on was gone. No bickering over price or anything.

I had someone contact me about the red sink within 5 minutes......gone.

All the left over sheet metal duct work......gone within several hours.

Tomorrow is suppose to be another great day so hopefully we can get the bulk of the leaf raking done. I have a huge blister on my thumb from raking without gloves. I always forget to put on gloves until it is too late.

I have all the roses trimmed except for the Knock Out roses in the lavender bed. I have about a third of the roses in that bed trimmed.

Today I trimmed the Purple Rug roses by the kitchen door. They are so thorny. This photo is blurry because the wind was blowing quite briskly today. If you cannot tell by the photo they branches are so covered in thorns they are like little bottle brushes.I normally do not plant roses that are this thorny but this particular shrub rose is very hardy, blooms profusely, and has the most intense rose scent. You can literally smell these roses when you are 20 feet away.

What is that I hear???? Sounds like my pillow calling my name. Nite.