Friday, December 31, 2010

One Last Thrifty Treasure for 2010

I realized today that my 25% off coupon at one of my favorite consignment shops was expiring today. So I just had to at least go look...right? Can't let a perfectly good coupon go to waste.

I cannot believe my good fortune. I have been casually looking at these coffee sets for the last year. I knew I wanted something from the 30's or 40's but every set I found was more than I wanted to spend for something I might or might not use. Until today when coupon in hand I found this set for a MERE $13.84!!!
Doesn't this scream 1937? Bullet shaped and Bakelite handles.
Please excuse the pile of dust and debris next to the coffee set. I placed it there just to get a quick photo and then it was back to demo.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Hammered Pull Rings

I was feeling rather lucky after my Craigslist finds so I decided to hit one of my usual antique shops after I arrived home from the Detroit area. I just had the feeling that I would find something that I NEEDED.

And find I did. Several years ago I found one pull ring with a heart shaped back made out of hammered metal that made it look like wrought iron and of course you know I cannot resist my wrought iron. After the initial purchase of one pull ring, the pull ring flow ran dry which was a shame as I needed more than one. I need one for every shutter on the exterior which will ultimately be long story short....I needed 19 more until today when that number went down to 17.I love these little pull rings. The hammered look matches the decorative straps on the exterior doors.

Oh and of course, what tool hound could pass on the little vintage compass/dividers for a mere 2 bucks?

I also bought a masonry tool that you use for putting a small radius on the edge of concrete walkways and driveways. I have no idea what the tool is called but for 5 dollars the price was right. I like my concrete walkways to have that picture frame look around the edges. Hopefully this summer we will be able to fire up the cement mixer that R bought awhile back.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

I Found a Plaster Guy

I try to give Craigslist a quick glance every other day just in case something comes up that I need to help with the restoration. My usual method is to just scan the very local Flint area listings but I was feeling a little frisky and decided to peruse the Detroit area listings.

Lo and behold....I ran across a listing for 14 beveled glass panes for a 15 lite french door. What makes this so appropriate is that not a day goes by without me warning R not to bump into the beveled glass in french door in the foyer. I also remind him that I have "no idea where I would get a replacement if he broke one of the panes."

I try never to get too emotionally attached to any item whenever I locate an item on Craigslist. Probably 75% of the time no one answers my email. Another 15% of the time the seller does not answer my questions. Usually responding with a simple "yes" to my usual 5 questions. Is that "yes" fives times or "yes" to the first question? So imagine my surprise when I received a reply within hours. Plus, the reply was intelligent. Yea......I felt I was soon to be the owner of 14 beveled lites for 15 bucks total.

So today I called the seller, who gave me great directions. My drive was uneventful and took just a mere 40 minutes right down I 75. This was just too easy. I pulled right into their driveway (two cute little dogs looking at me in the driveway) without a hiccup.

As I walked up to the porch, I noticed the best wrought iron decorative hinges I have ever seen in my entire life. Geez Louise...pull over the drool train. I have decorative wrought hinges on my doors and I must admit that they are quite impressive but these were soooooo different. The door was just like mine except it was a round top door. The decorative hinges were arched just like the door. I asked the home owner if I could take a photo. I forgot to ask if I could post the photo on my blog but I think I am fine as long as I don't tell you the address and the city. All you know is that it is in the thumb area of the mitten.

Here is the top strap. Is that 2die4?
Here's the middle strap.
And of course, the prerequisite hardware porn.
OK...on to the best part. Not only did I get 14 beveled glass lites for 15 bucks, the seller also threw in a glass push plate (I have 3 at home so I kind of needed another one) that was broke on the end. I am taking it to the glass shop tomorrow to have it cut down. This push plate will be 1 inch shorter than the others but I doubt if anyone will notice.

But that is not the best part. The best part is the seller is a third generation plaster guy and I need a plaster guy...big time!

Thank you Craigslist!

I still have not figured out how to use my new camera so cut me some slack on the dark spotted photos.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to everyone who reads my blog.

I am hoping to work on the house a little bit during the holidays but after the New Year we will hit the ground running.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Kitchen Door Installed

Yup....that's R using the oscillating saw to cut out another improperly installed board. Seems that the door opening is slightly askew.
I can't believe it shifted over the years because look at all these perfectly placed nails.
Not one of these spikes found their way into any wood. It appears they (as in whoever installed the jamb) just kept pounding in nail after nail, hoping that somehow it would hold. Well it didn't.

We did get the door hung but now we need to rebuild the top of the jamb, trim out the other side of the door, and reinstall the trim on the top of the door on the kitchen side.
When it comes to sunlight, the kitchen needs all the sunlight help it can get. Despite having a fair amount of windows the kitchen is still very dark. This door allows sunlight to come in from the mud room which is on the south side.

This door was a $35.00 investment. It has beveled glass lites and still has the plastic on the glass. It was purchased off of eBay from a seller in southern Indiana. I purchased 6 doors for 35 dollars each. I have used all the doors but two. I think, I sold that pair for $140.00 or $150.00. So even though, we had to drive to southern Indiana I think we still came out ahead on the whole deal. I know a new door from Home Depot without beveled glass is almost $200.00 a piece and I have used 4 of them at $35.00 a piece. So the two I sold covered the price of the 4 doors I kept. So basically we have 1 1/2 tanks of gasoline invested in the 4 doors. Not too shabby.

Unfortunately, I need one more door but I am still looking.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Curbside Treasure

Sometime before the snow fell I found my latest curbside treasure.Excuse the saw dust but this desk chair has been sitting in the work room since we fixed it. The chair was broken when I found it out at the curb. A quick look told me it was an easy fix so into the SUV it went.

Once the chair and I arrived home I inspected it further and realized that the broken spindle could be fixed with wood glue. I was lucky because the break was down in the hole and all the wood was still there. The hoop back was loose which enabled me to get a little glue into several of the spindle holes. I then lined everything up and tapped the top of the hoop with a rubber mallet to drive all the spindles back into their holes. I wiped off the excess glue and let the glue cure for a day.

The chair is now good as new...except for the saw dust and amazingly comfortable. We were going to donate it to Goodwill and then decided to keep it for the built in desk we will build in the kitchen at a later date.

What are we up to now?

R has moved on to the kitchen ceiling demo. But first he is switching out an old and ugly kitchen door for another 15 lite french door with beveled glass. Today was a day of measuring, looking for vintage hinges in my boxes of old hardware, and modifying the hinges to be hung the other way (removing the ball and putting it on the opposite end of the hinge). These are half mortised hinges where one half is mortised and screwed into the door jamb and the other half is offset and surface mounted to the door. All the exterior doors in this house have that style of 4 inch heavy duty hinge. This style of hinge has a loose pin with a slotted ball tip so that it can be made to accommodate either a right or left hand door. Sorry I did not take a photo of the hinges

R also lightly sanded the pins with emery cloth and then oil them before reassembling. It's amazing the amount of crud (metal dust from years of wear + dirt=crud) that builds up on the pin. The pin needs to be smooth and free of rust and crud so that it moves freely in the hinge. This allows the door to open and close easily and without any squeaks or creaks.

The door is all laid out and marked for trimming tomorrow. Hopefully it will not turn into an all day project. But like R says...."if wishes were horses...everyone could go for a ride."

Me? Well, I am back in the dining room stripping paint and sanding trim. I have a feeling I will be there until at least the beginning of the new year.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Sun Room is Complete Until Spring Time

The weather forecast is for 5-10 inches of snow. I can see it coming on the radar map but the temperature is steadily rising and is currently 38 degrees at 9:00PM. I am so hoping that the weather man is wrong but I have a feeling he is not.

Today was the final day of shingling on the north side of the sun room. We still have several pieces of cove trim to install under the windows and the small pieces of trim at the top of the shingles (original) but decided to leave that job until spring time. So on to the before and after pictures.

Here is what we started with on the exterior of the north side. The trim around the doors and windows were non existent and because of this, they did not match the rest of the house. The doors blocked the view of the fountain, were shabbily made, and had a large gap at the bottom that no amount of adjusting would eliminate.The first item on the agenda was the removal of shingles and paint on the windows. I also replaced the hinges with the Acorn Manufacturer L H hinges that are appropriate for this age of home.
Next was the the installation of the french doors. These doors were a Craigslist find and were purchased for $75 and still wrapped in the original plastic.
Before we could start shingling we needed to cut down the window jambs and then add the 5 inch wide (cut down from 6 inch wide boards) trim to each side of the window. R extended the window sills after the trim was installed. The window on the left has the sills already extended. While the window on the right side of the photo shows how it looked before the sill extensions are put into place.
Next came the cold, snow, and shingling.
This project took 40 feet of 6X1 inch wide pine for the trim ($57.00), 1 bundle of red cedar shingles ($51.00), 1 set of french doors ($75.00), 8 feet of cove trim ($8.00), and 4 sets of new hinges ($9.50 each) for a total of $229.00.

The photos don't convey how the feel of the sun room has change from dark and unappealing to bright with a view on three sides.

All that is needed is paint, vintage door knobs and lock set, and possibly wood storm doors. I'll look for door hardware during the winter months. Paint will come in the spring and summer. I'll wait until the sun room is painted to determine if we want or need the wood storm doors.

Now it's back to the dining room base boards and the sanding of the trim.

Friday, December 10, 2010

One Hung and Three To Go

We are hopeful that tomorrow will be the last day of shingling. The remaining shingles to be installed are on the right side of the window and the row of short shingles under the window.
I'm at the point where stripping paint off the base boards sounds like more fun than shingling. The weather was warmer today and hovered around 32 degrees. We even saw the sun today which was greatly appreciated because nothing is worse than day after day of gray skies. The snow has miraculously avoided this part of the state. I sure hope that it doesn't make up for it at a later date with a massive snowfall.

Only one wreath was hung today and that was on one of the front windows. I have three more to hang. My fingers are crossed that the suction cup holds through the night.
I was only able to shoot a photo of one of the gates. To take a photo of both gates would require me to stand in the road and people are just driving far too crazy these days to stand anywhere near the road.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Tis the Season to be a Pain in My A$$

Today was slightly warmer than yesterday or I guess I should say it wasn't as cold as yesterday because there was nothing warm about today at all.

We got a late start because, on the advice of my sister, I went to WalMart looking for large suction cups to hang my wreaths. I should have known I would be there awhile after I asked the stock guy, in the holiday decorations, about suction cups and he told me they were told in their morning meeting that they were out of suction cups. Two minutes later, over by the artificial Christmas trees, I found about one hundred of them.

I then got in a check out line, but since I am short, I did not notice that there was a male cashier until I was boxed in between an elderly couple who insisted on pushing their cart into my back and a couple who were letting each of their kids check out individually despite the fact that the store was packed to the gills. You see, I have a hard and fast rule that I never ever get in a line with a male cashier because they are just too slow. This gentleman did not prove my theory wrong.

Why is it that male cashiers pick the item up with one hand only to then reposition it with the other hand? They then scan slowly waiting for the beep and then and only then do they even begin to turn and bag the item. Heaven forbid you have a coupon, which I did. He then must read it from stem to stern before attempting to scan it. Why not just scan the sucker and then read it if it doesn't accept the scan????

By the time I got my items on the conveyor, the elderly couple had pushed me right by the card reader and past the carousel. I was never so glad to leave a store in my life.

But wait I wasn't free yet. Lucky me was following a lady out to the parking lot when we approached the exit door and she abruptly stopped. She didn't stop as we were getting she stopped at the point where you couldn't go around her and still get out the door.

Why did she stop??? First, she needed to button up her coat. Then she needed to put on her gloves. Oh she couldn't find her keys. It was only after all that preparation did she move forward followed by myself and three others. We were in a large lobby where she could have pulled to the side and prepared herself for departure. But no, that would take forethought and she would have none of that. BTW we couldn't use another door because there were only two exit doors and one had a sign on it that said 'use other door'. At this point I had a headache.

When I finally arrived home, R said he was ready to "call out the cavalry" because I was gone so long "just to get suction cups." We spent the next two hours cutting and installing the short shingles under the window and the narrow shingles by the side of the window. Each one took more time than a full size shingle to install. We finally finished the left side and called it quits for the day on the shingling.

Here is how it looked when we quit for the day. We still need to add the trim under the window but we will wait until the other side is done and then haul out the nail gun and do both windows at the same time.
We then moved on to the business of wreath hanging. By this time it was completely dark and we were only able to hang the two wreaths on the wrought iron driveway gates.

I'll make the bows tonight and hopefully tomorrow.....God willing....I'll hang those wreaths. All I have to say is....those suction cups better hold and not fall down because at this point I'm running out of HO HO HOs.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Damn, it's cold out there.

Today we lasted exactly 3 hours outside. It was so cold that the shingles in the bundle had frost on them. The white stuff on this shingle is frost and those three dark spots are where my fingers were holding the shingles. BrrrrrrThis is where we started today. Yesterday we had ALMOST finished two rows on one side when we ran out of nails.This is where we were when we yelled "no mas!"
This side still needs a small row under the window and the little shingles on the right side of the window. At the rate we are going I bet we won't even start the other side tomorrow.

Tomorrow I want to hang the five wreaths I have already made plus two large artificial wreaths for the wrought iron gate and the bows still need to be assembled and attached. I also bought a small frame today and if I have time I want to make a small wreath for my front door.

The big suction cup hunt continues. I was able to buy just one at Michaels tonight. CVS had none. Home Depot said they only had two left yesterday. I need at least one more of those heavy duty suction cups. I just know that after the holidays I'll see them on sale somewhere, but I need them NOW.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

What Were We Thinking?

Let me tell you it was colder than the 24 degrees that the weather channel said it was.

Against all better judgment....we shingled today. No really we did.

It was cold.

How cold was it?

It was so cold that my tennis shoes hardened up and it felt like I was walking on boards.

We figured that it wasn't going to get warm any time soon so today was as good a day as any to finish up the exterior of the sun room.

It's amazing how slow you work outside when it is brutally cold. We needed to use the nail gun to finish the trim. The air hose was rock hard so it would not lay flat. I must have tripped over the hose at least 5 times.

We set up the saw in the sun room. I would cut and trim shingles with the little plane while R would nail and measure. We were able to get the bottom two rows finished on one side before we mercifully ran out of nails. Thank you nail god where ever you are.

This is the only photo I was able to take. We were just getting ready to start the shingling.
I tried to take more photos but my batteries were so low that it didn't even say LOW BATTERIES. The lens barely extended. I felt this was a sign to get inside and do something else. So inside I went.

Yesterday, my sister, niece and I assembled wreaths. They made 2 each and each one is different from the next. My sister sent me the photos and I will share those with you at the end of this post. I made 2 wreaths yesterday and made two more today. I hope to make two more tomorrow.

My wreaths are for the outside and all will just have red bows. I will attach them to the storm window glass with large suction cups. I still need to buy them and I sure hope that Michaels has them in stock. I see them all the time when I don't want them. Kind of like when you need a slotted screw driver and you can only find phillips and vice a versa.

Here for your viewing pleasure my sister and niece's wreaths. This wreath was made by my niece, Blaire and it hangs outside. It is a blue spruce and cedar wreath with pine cones and some small artificial poinsettias.
This is the other all blue spruce wreath she assembled. It is adorned with pine cones and a bird.
My sister, Ranee made this blue spruce wreath with a feathered theme. The ornament hanging in the center is covered in feathers. The ribbon is a dark sage green but the photo does not do it justice.
Here is a long shot of the wreath over the fireplace. My sister did the stone work herself this past summer.
Her second wreath is a blue spruce and cedar wreath adorned with acorns, faux berry clumps, and a large metal acorn bell (bottom).
There was some method to our madness. We figured that after this year the wreaths will be nearly free to make next year now that we have purchased the metal frames. Ranee cuts the greens on her property in the U.P. (upper peninsula) and we will reuse the ribbon. Pine cones and acorns are all over my yard so that part is free.

I will try my best to get photos of the shingling if we have time to do any tomorrow. We have some running around to do and of course we need nails.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Wreath Making with my Sister and Niece

On Sunday, I stripped another section of base board. I tried to do a little sanding but that was slow going.
The fluted area on the corner cabinet sanded up nicely but the end result also netted me one half sanded off fingernail.
Today was a day of making evergreen wreaths with my sister Ranee and my favorite niece Blaire. We were able to crank out 6 wreaths. I still have 3 more wreath frames and possibly enough greens to make the three wreaths and also fill my flower box with the leftover greens.

We took a lunch break after we wired the greens to 6 wreath frames. But first, we made a quick side trip to Michael's. We barely had enough strength to make bows and add some pine cones by the time we returned home after eating and shopping.

I'll post photos of the wreaths as soon as my sister emails me the photos. The photos I took today were dark and fuzzy. It's a good thing Santa is bringing me a new camera for Christmas.

According to R....we are ready to shingle tomorrow. So I am anticipating extreme wind and ultra cold temperatures tomorrow.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Is this what I think it is?

This is what I found as I chipped away at the paint on the wall in the dining room. Need a closer view?Here is a hint....there is another spot just like this about 6 ft to the right of this one.

Any ideas????

Time is up.

I'm thinking there were sconces on this wall at one time.

What do you think?

Update....stripping of the corner cabinets is completed. I even stripped a section of base board. I'll have to move some rolled up vintage oriental rugs I've been storing in the dining room before I can finish the base board stripping.

As I was stripping the base board I ran across thick hunks of paint left over from when the base shoe was installed. Why wouldn't they have scraped that off after they removed the base shoe and repainted the base board? And if not then, why not one of the other ten or so times the base board was painted there after?

Friday, December 3, 2010

Friday Round Up

The paint stripping is finished on both corner cabinets EXCEPT for the bottom of two shelves and the little grooves. I think I will strip the baseboards before I do any sanding. The baseboards are going to be tough going. Today just before I called it quits, I stripped a small portion of baseboard. This little area took me 15 minutes to strip. Yikes!! I am hoping that it was just a case of cool heat gun and not an indication of what lays ahead.

As you can see by the photo, the baseboard does not rest on the floor. Also missing is the base shoe. This room, as did the rest of the house, had wall to wall carpet on the floor. They ran the carpet under the baseboard but I can see witness marks of the original base shoe. It took us an entire week to pull up all the carpet and padding just after we bought the house. You might have noticed in the first photo that I also have been chipping paint off the walls. Tomorrow I'll tell you what I found while scraping paint off the plaster. It might not even be plaster. To my untrained eye, the walls feel more like stucco than plaster.

While I have been busy inside the house...R has been outside in the cold. Don't worry he's bundled up and wearing his flannel lined jeans. He has both windows trimmed out and the sill extensions on one window installed. Tomorrow after he installs the other sill extensions, I will be called back outsides to help with the shingle installation.
Shingling should go rather quickly because there is very little area left that needs to be shingled. It will probably take longer to get the table, saw, extension cord, and miscellaneous tools outside than it will be to actually nail up the shingles.

I'm keeping my fingers crossed it doesn't snow tomorrow because I don't like getting cold much less snow covered.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Revitalizing a Jar Candle

Have you ever bought an expensive jar candle only to have it burn down the middle and end up with a stub of a wick that cannot be lit?I finally decided to try and revitalize these no longer functioning jar candles. The problem as I saw it was a lack of wick. I feel like that Dyson vacuum cleaner guy who says, "with the proper amount of suction."

So to solve this problem I needed to pull the wick up out of the wax so that it could be lit and once lit produce a large enough flame to melt all the wax on the top of the candle.

The wax needed to be liquid for me to be able to pull the wick up and out of the wax. The microwave was out of the question because the wick has a little metal holder in the bottom of the candle. I decided to try the oven.....but what temperature should I use? I thought I would start at 100 degrees but my oven cannot be set that low. The lowest setting I was able to achieve with my oven was 170 degrees. So 170 degrees was where I set it.

I placed the jar candle in a Pyrex dish just to make sure if the jar did crack and lose wax that it would be contained in the dish. This worked perfect. The jar did not crack and eventually all the wax was melted.

Once the wax was melted I took the dish with the jar candle out of the oven leaving the jar candle in the dish. I used a pair of tweezers to grab hold of the wick and gently lifted the wick up about 3/4 of an inch above the wax. This is also the perfect time to center the wick in the middle of the jar. At this point I left the wax to slowly cool.

I was feeling pretty sure of myself so I got brave and put another candle in the oven to melt. This time I decided to add two additional wicks to make a one wick candle into a three wick candle.

You can buy wick and wick holders at Michael's, I just so happen to have some wick and wick holders. I cut a length of wick and pulled it through the wick holder and then crimped the wick holder to keep the wick in the holder.Once the wax in the next jar was completely melted I removed it from the oven. Using the tweezers, I slowly dropped the wick and wick holder into the liquid wax. Make sure your wick is as straight as possible before lowering into the wax because once it hits the hot wax it will become very pliable. snicker snicker As the wax cools you may need to prop up the wick until the wax firms up.

I can now sleep soundly knowing that my candles are burning brightly and have the proper amount of wick!