Friday, January 31, 2014

I called that one

You know...I didn't just fall off the turnip truck or I guess in my case, I didn't just fall off the snow plow. I should have known better than to predict a completion date.  That should be rule number one for any home improvement project.  Never under any circumstance predict a completion date.  To do so will result in sadness, disappointment, and home improvement heartbreak.

I no sooner posted that I might make the self imposed deadline when after scraping one more day....I got sick and haven't done anything but watch 4 years worth of episodes of Downton Abby. No progress on the house but I now know that Mrs. Patamore isn't a 'frolicker'.  But that isn't as important as knowing that the Dowager Countess doesn't know what a weekend is and that Anna and Mr. Bates are back to living together.  Living under the rules of an entail must be a b@#$h.

But none the less I can't say when I'll finish.  It's snowing now but in 36 hours we are suppose to get another 7 inches.  Of course it is nothing like the whole TWO inches they got in Atlanta.  Here's a couple of words of advice to you people in the south that live with 350 days of perfect weather. Stay at home when the weather gets bad. The more the merrier doesn't work during a snow or ice storm.  You must stay off the roads.  Accidents breed exponentially during these weather events. One accident causes two more and those two cause an additional 4 more etc etc.

I just deleted a weather rant so back to paint scraping.  The photo below is over exposed but it shows the condition of the remaining original baseboard.  Notice the huge crack? And the two huge screws?  How about how far away from the wall it is and how much caulk still needs to be removed?

This is my guess of what happened here.  We had to patch the floor where they removed the radiator here and there are a lot of water stains on the floors, I'm thinking that water and heat cracked the wood.

While scraping I have a lot of time to think and look around.  I believe that once we remove the baseboard in this room and I cut out the bad spots and biscuit join the remaining large pieces I should have enough to do the short walls and one long wall.  I should also have enough to fix the area where we removed the ill located cold air return in the foyer.  The remaining long wall will need new baseboard as well as the dining room.

What's R been up to while I've been under the weather.  Well, I guess it goes without saying that he shovels just about every day.  If it doesn't snow, the snow plow will still go by to try and tidy up the side of the road. This will fill the end of the driveway with hard chunks of snow making it impossible to drive through.  When he wasn't shoveling he finished insulating the ceiling in the kitchen but we haven't had a chance to install anymore bead board paneling.

Tomorrow I am actually going to try and get something done.

FYI You can watch episodes of Downton Abby by going to Simply June  This site also has season one and two of The Paradise.  Season two hasn't even aired yet here in the US.

Friday, January 24, 2014

I might make the deadline

......did I just jinx myself?

I've been scraping away for about 4-5 hours a day.  That's just about the most time my thumb can endure pushing on the handle of the putty knife.

I have to scrape the area above the windows by the crown and of course the corner and part of the alcove shelf area.  Basically all undesirable scraping spots.

R added some fire block today in the ceiling between the laundry room/old butler's pantry and the kitchen.  He has finished insulating the ceiling and is ready to move on to installing some more bead board panels.  But first he has to pick up all the tools.  I swear that nearly every tool we own is currently laying on the floor of the kitchen.

This weather really keeps us limited to inside projects where we already have the needed supplies.  It seems that every day it snows just enough to make the roads slippery.  Since it is below 10 degrees they cannot salt or brine the roads.

The weather forecast is that this weather will continue for two more weeks.  Now would be a good time for the weatherman to be wrong.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Same old, same old thing

Same old thing.  I'm scraping and R is working on the ceiling in the kitchen.

My work is going sloooow and I will be lucky to finish by the end of the month.  R on the other hand thinks that he might be able to start insulating the kitchen ceiling which is just in tie for an polar vortex.   Brrrrrrrrrrrrrrr

Maybe tomorrow I will attempt the same area under the window.  This will give my shoulder a rest before I attempt that area above the window.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

My Flint Faience Tile

My little tile arrived and I must say "it is so cute."

The back still had mortar attached when I received it, so I got out the Dremel and put a little cone bit on it.  Gently I removed the mortar.  The tile is hard and the mortar is fairly soft in comparison so it came off the tile fairly easy.  But surprise!!!!  Once all the mortar was removed I could read the incised stamp that said Flint Faience Tile Co. Flint Mich.

I also found the tile in the book Flint Faience Tiles A to Z. The tile came in a variety of sizes.  Mine is 3 inches by 3 inches.    

I'm hoping to have it framed in a dark wood frame to hang on the wall.  I already know where.....right between the vestibule door and the door to the broom closet in the foyer. There is an area about 10 inches wide there and I think it would work perfect in that small area along with giving a nod to my Flint area and automotive roots.

Speaking of roots.  Recently Flint Michigan was featured in an online story written by Laura Dimon, the daughter of JP Morgan, Jamie Dimon.  Well, that story went over like a lead balloon.  Not only did it have an attention grabbing National Enquirer style headline (since changed) but it also included two photos (since removed and not mentioned) that were not shot in Flint.  I noticed and suspected right away that two of the four photos were unfamiliar, especially the photo of the building which had Mideastern styling.  I guess Ms. Dimon confused her Mideastern with her Midwestern.  Ultimately it was revealed that one of the photos was of a spot in Israel and the other photo was taken in Detroit.

Also, when asked if she visited Flint to research the article she stated "I wish I could have but I did not. Next time I have the means, I come."  Really?  Means? Your father was part of the reason this country went into recession and only added to Flint's misery despite his 19M a year salary.  Your family sent out an outrageously ostentatious Christmas card emblazoned with tennis balls flying and nearly bouncing off of a wall size Jackson Pollack painting  AND you say you didn't have the means?

What really ticks me off is that whenever anyone writes an article about Flint, they never show photos of our revived and still improving downtown. Instead they show areas that in some cases are not of Flint proper but on the border and actually either Burton or Beecher areas.  These stories never mention the annual world class road race called The Crim nor do they mention the hugely successful auto show called Back to the Bricks which brings over 500K people to downtown Flint.

Yes, Flint has seen better days but it's worst are behind it.  Our Farmer's Market is world class and award winning and will be moving to the center of downtown.  Our Second Friday of the Month Art Walks are growing every summer.  Did you know that Flint has several churches with original Tiffany windows and by the way, they are beyond gorgeous.  We have a planetarium and how many cities that are bigger and more prosperous than Flint, have a planetarium?

BUT unfortunately we have a group of young punks that are unhappy with their lot in life and have chosen to make everyone else pay the price for their unhappiness.  What is the answer?  I don't know. For every unhappy punk there are multiple examples of fine young people who started out in the same neighborhood as the unhappy punks and they have done well for themselves and Flint but they do not get any recognition.  I know their lives are not great but how do you stop that cycle of hate and anger? The gangs have all the power and even those that want to get out can't.  I know when they increase police coverage during all the big events that they pretty much stop any problems.  Ironically during the polar vortex Flint did not have one murder.  It was just the other day when the temperature reached 30 degrees that Flint had it's first murder of the year.  Maybe that's the answer more police and more polar vortexs.

Just like the Don Henley song Dirty Laundry, it is much easier to get people to read your article if it depicts something that is bad.   Yup...Crap is King.

I make my living off the Evening News
Just give me something-something I can use
People love it when you lose,
They love dirty laundry

Well, I coulda been an actor, but I wound up here
I just have to look good, I don't have to be clear
Come and whisper in my ear
Give us dirty laundry

Kick 'em when they're up
Kick 'em when they're down
Kick 'em when they're up
Kick 'em when they're down
Kick 'em when they're up
Kick 'em when they're down
Kick 'em when they're up
Kick 'em all around

We got the bubble-headed-bleach-blonde who
Comes on at five
She can tell you 'bout the plane crash with a gleam
In her eye
It's interesting when people die-
Give us dirty laundry

Can we film the operation?
Is the head dead yet?
You know, the boys in the newsroom got a
Running bet
Get the widow on the set!
We need dirty laundry

You don't really need to find out what's going on
You don't really want to know just how far it's gone
Just leave well enough alone
Eat your dirty laundry

Kick 'em when they're up
Kick 'em when they're down
Kick 'em when they're up
Kick 'em when they're down

Kick 'em when they're up
Kick 'em when they're down
Kick 'em when they're stiff
Kick 'em all around

Dirty little secrets
Dirty little lies
We got our dirty little fingers in everybody's pie
We love to cut you down to size
We love dirty laundry

We can do "The Innuendo"
We can dance and sing
When it's said and done we haven't told you a thing
We all know that Crap is King
Give us dirty laundry!

Saturday, January 4, 2014

I'm so over it....

......the snow, the cold, and paint scraping.

I am so hoping that we have this intense cold and snow and then that will be it.  I guess I have gotten soft with these past mild winters but this year it is COLD with a capital C O L D.

There really hasn't been much new on the home front.  R is still working on prepping the ceiling in the kitchen for bead board plywood.  He is currently working on the small area to the west of the big beam. It is slow going because even though the area is small there are a lot of corners and odd variations in height.  His level is getting quite the workout.

I'm busy working on the last wall in the living room.  I am so glad that I made up my mind that this wall would take 1 month.  The first section that I scraped went quickly.  No problems and no damage discovered.

I moved the china cabinet and started the area next to the window. Oh boy.  It appears that there was a lot of peeling paint in this area and they decided to use caulk like drywall compound. It was troweled on the wall and then texturized to match the texture of the wall.  I can only get about 75% of it off.  The remaining will need sanding.

Seriously, who does that sort of thing?  I keep telling myself that it will look so much better when I paint and that it will be so worth it in the end.

To occupy my mind while I scrape, I've been pondering 2 or 3 open shelves in the kitchen.  I say 3 and R says 2.  I think we will need to do a mock up before I order the brackets.  Yes, I said ordered. Originally, we were going to make our own but I was surfing for bracket designs and found out that I can order them cheaper than making them.  We will paint them white so we need either pine or poplar and it's looking like I can get them for around 15 bucks each.

I've been scouting Flint Faience Tile for some time now.  If you are unfamiliar with Flint Faience Tile please check it out.  In a nutshell......FFT was hand made and handpainted at a GM factory here in the Flint area from 1921 to 1933.  You can find it in some very prestigious places.  The factory that made the tiles also made spark plugs specifically AC Spark Plugs.  GM started making tiles to make use of the kilns on weekends and off shifts when they needed to keep the kilns running but were not producing spark plugs.

These tiles are beautiful.  A lot of the colorful Art Deco bathrooms of the 20's and 30's were decorated with Flint Faience Tile.  We still need to verify if our house has FF tile but now that we know that our house was built in the mid 20's it looks more and more like it has Flint Faience.  

If you have a house built in the 20's and 30's and you are thinking of installing new tile in a vintage pattern please get the book Flint Faience Tiles A to Z by Carney and Galvas.  This book is to die for over and over again.  272 pages of pure goodness.  The book can be used for ideas even those they no longer make this tile.  I spoke with one of the authors on the phone and he indicated that the molds were sold to the Mosaic Tile Company of Zanesville  Ohio.  It's a pricey book but you will see why when you get it.  It is chock full of photos.

I have a broken black towel bar bracket in my master bath.  I purchased a vintage set at a salvage place to replace it so I am hoping when I have it replaced that I will be able to see if it is in sized with Flint Faience on the back.

But anyways back to my score.  I purchased a small decorative tile that I plan on framing.  It is so cute. I'll show you a photo as soon as I get it.

Other than that..............we are just trying to stay warm.  Spring cannot come too soon.  Three weeks into winter and I am sooooooooooooo over it.