Monday, September 22, 2014

The Siding Project

Kevin and I have been re-siding our house.  It's been an adventure.  In exhausting adventure.  A real work out.  A slow process.  Here's some "Before" pictures.  This first one is WAY before.  Because all that bare dirt?  It's now grass!  And the three windows at the top?  They were replaced by a bay window.  Gosh...I really need to take some updated pictures of our place!


 The "old new door" has been replaced.
The garage doors are staying. Because they were a project from a few years ago.  Still work beautifully.  But that siding?  It's all gone.

 Right now, the house looks like this!

Right now, the North side is the only side with intact siding.  (it was probably the easiest side to do!)

Kev and I have debated for over a year about what kind of siding we wanted.  I really wanted to put up siding that looks like logs.  He vetoed it simply because of the maintenance it requires.  We discussed the merits of vinyl, or cement fiber board.  We discussed if we wanted to stay with the current look of our house, or change it.  We discussed hiring the job out, or doing it ourselves.  Anything you can discuss about siding, we did.

Finally, this year, we decided we couldn't put off the decision forever.  So, we bit the bullet and decided to go with fiber cement board siding.  Why?  Well, a big factor was it's fire resistance.  We live in the country, surrounded by pasture and wheat fields.  Prairie fires move fast.  Cement board is fire resistant.  It is also relatively cheap and very durable.  

We picked the width we thought we liked and bought it.  But there was one issue that stalled us.  We felt like the east side (the walk out basement side) needed something...more.  It was such a huge span of space that we felt it looked...bland.  So we then debated whether to go with a stone facade, or something else.  Whether to go with stone panels, or individual stone blocks or faux stone.  We priced it, and gave up, finding it would cost as much as the actual siding.

But then we walked through our favorite store, Menards, and found a siding display that used stone.  Paving stones.  What a novel idea!  We priced it, and discovered it was MUCH more affordable.  So that's what we did.  We put the stone (above) on the walls stopping three feet above the ground.  It took a while--a long while--to install, but we love it!   (and yes, that's a new front door!)

We intended to start and finish the project over the labor day weekend. Oh, we were so naive.  We had help that first weekend.  But we got to the point you see here.  We discovered the old cedar siding was brittle and just shattered and splintered as we pulled it down, taking forever.  

Our house had never been wrapped, so we wrapped it for a better weather barrier (and to hopefully stop the breeze that blows under my bathroom cabinet.)  After our help went home, Kev's only help was me.

He and I have spent every weekend this month working on the house.  (Well, except one weekend, when he had to work at the hospital.) Yesterday, we finished the West and the South sides.  All we have left is the East side, above the basement level.  It's a side I'm not looking forward to doing.  I can do ladders, I just don't like to!  Hopefully, our help can come back next week and help finish this final side of the house.

So, how good of help am I?  Well, I've gotten better with the nail gun!  Lifting and holding the siding isn't an issue, but carrying 3 to 4 pieces very far very often gets tiring.  And I have this hitch in my hip that really has objected to the activity.  Today, I hurt! I can say, with complete confidence, that I don't ever want to earn my living by installing siding...all the measuring and math to figure where to start each course on each side is frustrating. We've stopped working every night exhausted.  Kev asked if it was because we're getting old, or because it's just simply hard work.  I voted for the hard work.  

But, we're getting it done.  It will look nice (once I pick out a paint color and paint it all.)  It should make our house more energy efficient.  I just hope we finish before the snow flies.


Wednesday, September 10, 2014

I lied

I lied.

I said I was going to stitch "Glory in the Morning."  Instead, I started this one:

It's by Blackberry Lane Designs and called
"Nativity Story Square Table Topper"
Three colors, Navy, Yellow and Gold.

I bought the pattern and the fabric five or six years ago. I also bought some hand dyed thread to use instead of using DMC floss.

Just to try something different ;)

I'm working on the star first.  Of course the star consists of the yellow blended with the metallic gold floss.  Which is reminding me why I hate stitching with metallic floss.  I love the end result, but hate the actual stitching.  Metallic floss just twists and knots and doesn't lay as flat as it should. Thankfully, the star is the only place I'm using it!

I will stitch "Glory" it's just when I started getting ready to pull the floss, I found I really just didn't want to do it.  This project jumped out and said, "stitch me, stitch me!" instead.  You should always listen to projects that beg to be stitched.

When I bought this, I thought I'd frame it and hang it above our couch at Christmas.  Don't know if it will be finished for this Christmas, but the thought has entered my mind that this might make a nice Christmas gift.

We will see what my instincts tell me to do once it's finished.

Monday, September 08, 2014

Eldar's Secret--FINISHED

Da da da DAAAAA!
 Finished!  After 18 months, Eldar's Secret is FINISHED!
Can I express how satisfied I am to have finished this HUGE project?

567,000 STITCHES.
90 colors of floss.
Hours of time.

But it's finished.  I'm not sad to finish.  It's very fulfilling and satisfying to finish.  This hasn't been my most difficult project.  By difficult, I'm thinking of those projects with lots and lots of 1/2 stitches and 3/4 stitches with lots and lots of backstitiching that you have to count out exactly or rip and start over repeatedly.  But it was difficult in the amount of short sections with lots of color changes.  The blocks at the top of the project had the biggest run of single color blocks.  The dragons the least.  I can't tell you how often I'd finish stitching a color and then realizing that there was ONE stupid stitch of this color in this next section.  ONE STUPID STITCH.  Sometimes I'd pull that floss color back out of the box and stitch that one stitch in the correct color.  Other times, I admit, I looked at the picture, at where we were in the picture, and I'd substitute a color (usually the one I was presently using).  

Am I ready to attack a full sized Heaven & Earth design?  Not right now.  Maybe when I retire!  12 pages took me 18 months...how long would 30 pages take?  Or 60!

Nope.  I'll turn my attention to a new project, one not so challenging or time consuming...I hope!  My next project is below:
Glory in the Morning

It's 3 feet tall!  Hand dyed two-tone linen fabric.
I can't wait to start!

I also can't wait to see Eldar framed and up in my office.

Monday, June 23, 2014

The finished Kitchen

You know us, we don't go very long without remodeling something!  
Miss Kat's High School Graduation is over.  Track season is over.  School is out, which means that I have Friday's off.  Which also meant that I had lots of "free" time to do projects!

After much thought and discussion, Kevin agreed that I could paint the kitchen cabinets.  Remember back in January when we replaced the counter tops?  I said then that the Oak just didn't match the new tops or the trim that we stained to match the counter tops and new back splash.  We (I) decided to take a chance and paint the cabinets.

I looked at lots of examples of rustic cabinet treatments on Pinterest and the web.  I thought about what I wanted, and decided on a Barn Red with a black glaze.  Except I wasn't sure I wanted to go with black, but thought a dark brown would work.  I asked opinions from lots of friends and family members.  I especially picked the brain of Megan, who had recently painted her cabinets.  She's in the design business and I value her opinion and experience.  She let me know that it was a lot of work, and she was right!




Before pictures:  just as a reminder of where we started!

So, three weeks ago, I started sanding the cabinets.  I removed the doors, removed the hardware, and sanded.

And sanded.
And bought more sandpaper.
And sanded.

Then I stopped by Sherwin Williams for paint.

I got primer (tinted dark grey), and the paint.

Two weekends ago, I painted.  On Friday, I painted the primer.  Two coats.  On Saturday, I painted red.   Two coats.  (actually three on the cabinet doors.)  I painted from 8 in the morning until after 9 p.m. both days.  I held a brush so long that I had blisters!

I also made a mad dash to the paint store for wall paint because we knew we weren't keeping the green, but I hadn't decided on a color.
And on Sunday, I made another mad dash to Dodge to the paint store because I hated the first color I'd picked!  It was too light and just didn't work.

This past Friday, I mixed my glaze color.  And instantly began second guessing my color choice.  It wasn't as dark as I'd envisioned.  But I was NOT making another trip to town to change colors!  And I persevered.  And texted photos to Megan and Bailey for their input.  Both said they liked it, but I wasn't sure...
I finally decided that if I hated it when done, I could put another glaze over this one, but use black.

On Saturday, I took a break and went with Kevin to Wichita.  He was helping some friends move.  I went along and helped unload the truck.  We also stopped by Menards on our way home to get a few items we needed.  Like spray paint.

We'd decided to re-use the existing hardware, but we both really disliked it.  So, we spray painted it Oil-Rubbed Bronze.  

At Menards, we also bought a piece of beadboard to put on the front of the bar (the dining room side.)  I'd painted it, but it was that paper-covered plywood, like what we had on the sides of all of our el-cheapo cabinets.  That large of an area didn't take the paint well and I really hated the look of it--even after I glazed it.  It just looked awful.  We had to do something with it!

On Sunday, we rehung the cabinet doors, and I put on all the hardware.  Kev put up the bead board.  (which necessitated another flying trip to Dodge, because his staple/finish nail gun died.  We bought a new one.  He uses it way too often to be without!)

Here's the finished project (pre clean-up):


The east wall.

The West wall.
 The Dining Room side of the bar with it's new beadboard walls.
 The South wall.

 The North side/kitchen side of the bar.

I still need to paint the dining room.  It's still green.  I'm happy with the beige/tan wall color (it's darker in person than in photos.)  It goes great with my window treatment, so I'm keeping my chicken valances. (Yeah!)  

I do have a small confession.  It's been humid enough that drying time is a wee bit slower than anticipated.  I stacked my doors to bring upstairs, and a couple of them stuck together!  I have to touch up two cabinets.  And I think I will take Megan's advice and get some water based Polyurethane and give everything a coat--including the hardware.  I'm hoping I can apply it without dismantling everything...we'll see.  I also need to find some little pads to put in the corners of the cabinet doors to help with the "bang" upon closing.

And, for some reason, a couple of the big pantry doors don't line up like they did.  Kev tried leveling them, but that caused a gap problem.  So, we have to be a little careful about closing them just right, but I can live with that.  Hopefully this will last us till we can remodel the entire kitchen, in three or four years.

Kev is not a paint guy.  He really likes the beauty of natural wood (if you hadn't figured that out by now!)  He admitted that this looked nice, and looked better than what we had, and that he didn't necessarily have faith in me.  He just KNEW that I'd get started and that something wouldn't work right and we'd be forced to buy new cabinets.  He of little faith :)

I decided that the brown glaze works well.  It brings out the browns in the trim, the back splash and the counter tops.  The black hardware brings out the black in everything...so it does work.  (I shouldn't doubt myself as much as I do either!)

I'd like to say this was a cheap fix, but it wasn't cheap.  I spent $200 in paint and primer.  I guess that's cheaper than a new kitchen, but it was more than I hoped to spend :).  However...I think buying GOOD paint is worth it.  
Right now, I'm ready to retire my brush and get my kitchen back to normal.  I need to finish Kat's scrapbook/album (with graduation stuff.)  I've got a cross stitch project to finish.  (I haven't touched it since April!) I've got flower beds to weed, and hopefully some canning in my future.  

Today, I'm tickled...red...about the new look in the kitchen and am ready for normal.  However...Miss Kat did mention that her bathroom is the only room in the house we haven't touched.  We might have to look into that!

Monday, April 14, 2014

Never ending remodeling.

You'd think we were done with the remodel of Andy's bathroom.
But you'd be wrong.
We thought we were done in that bathroom.  
We were wrong too!

Here's the towel rods we originally installed.  They looked nice, but they kept pulling out of the wall or would fall off the brackets.  These are the kind where you don't have any visible screws, and they hook over brackets that you tighten a screw against the bracket to hold them to the wall.  

Nice in theory.  Not so nice in actual practice.

So, I've been brainstorming, and shopping, looking for something that would stay on the wall and still be "oil rubbed bronze."

I got the idea for the new ones we have by thinking about the stair rail in Mom and Dad's house.  It's simply a galvanized pipe screwed to the wall.  Now, granted, as a pretentious teenager, I thought it was cheap and hokey, and just lived with it.  (It was better once we painted it bright apple green!)  But now, I was thinking how it has been on that wall for almost 100 years and was trying to think of a towel rack that would do as well...Eureka!


 So I presented my idea to Kevin, to make towel racks out of galvanized pipe.  He was skeptical, but I searched Pinterest and found several examples.  I even found some painted black and a couple with a shelf.

I had him hooked on the idea with the shelf.


So on Saturday morning, Kev went to town and came home with all the hardware for new towel racks.
I washed them up--to scrub the protective coating and oil off the metal.  Kevin built his rack.  I spray painted it.  Kev then went out and found a piece of wood, cut it to fit, drilled the holes for the pipe, and we were in business!

I washed the piece of wood, because it was pretty dirty!  Kev spaced his brackets so that two were in studs and he installed those plastic brackets in the other holes.  THIS towel rack isn't going anywhere!

I LOVE it!

(Note, we did use ONE recycled pipe out of some that Kev had at home.  We didn't have any brackets or elbows.  I'm sure we could have found some if we'd gone to the farm, but it was easier to buy new.  But rest assured, I'm thinking of other ways to use some old pipe that's laying around!)