Sunday, July 3, 2011

Back to Painting

We've been working on painting the outside of the house now for several years.  See this post from 2008, and that was even a year or two into the painting. When I first started, I did these color swatches on the back of the house to see what color I liked best. 

We noticed that those swatches are still holding up fairly well, even though there was no prep work done on them at all and the condition of the clapboards was/is pretty horrendous.

Combine that with the fact that we have a 5 - 10 year plan to redo the back of the house - meaning that I don't want to put a whole lot of work into something that's going to be torn down.  So we decided to just do a quick scrape of the loose stuff and paint right over it.  Only missing or totally broken boards were replaced.  Windows & trim were ignored for now.  I certainly didn't bring out the Paint Shaver Pro or the IR heater!

Time is still very limited, so with my snail's pace, I did one wall of the bumpout-bumpout a couple weeks ago, and I did another wall yesterday.

Good enough, I say.  In the past I've talked with my father - he says that I have the ability to know when something is good enough.  His brother still hasn't put siding on his house 25 years later because he can't get something perfect - whatever that "something" is.  Well, it may take me 10 years to finish painting the house, but the back will only be good enough to not annoy the neighbors before it gets torn down.

In other house news, we also got a couple of sections of fence put up.  The fence is mostly functional - so that our 2 big 70 lb doodle dogs can run around while we're out there doing things.  Our next door neighbor, Joyce, took the chain link fence between our front yards down, and we put that one in the back, where all the weird hobbled together chicken wire fencing was.  Then she had her contractor put up a cedar picket for the back half,

and we used him to put up a vinyl picket (we didn't need something ELSE to paint) with a gate going across our driveway,

and a couple of sections in the back that are visible from the front.
We wish we could have had the whole yard done, but we did what we could with our current budget.

You might have noticed in that picture with the gate, that the front of the garage is painted now.  If you have good eyes, you also might have seen that the lights I was drooling over in a previous post are now up!  Those were a gift from Jim.  I love them every time I see them.

And here's a picture of the house as it is now.  Still work to do on the 2nd floor bay and the gables....  Aside from the garage being painted and the fence up, it doesn't look a whole lot different from last year.  But the rose bush is going crazy and looking great again!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Finally... an update... and a finished project or two

I have occasionally been doing things around the house.  Not nearly at the pace that I was pre-pregnancy (and I thought I was slow then...)  But every once in a while, I get the chance to chip away at a project.  Vacation days are pretty good for that - I have even a little more time on the vacation days that Morty still goes to daycare.

Right before I had Morty, I was sort of working on a little kitchen cabinet project that I blogged about here. Well, now that the garage is up and partially wired, I braved the cold temperatures, wearing Jim's insulated Dickey overalls and breaking out a couple of those handwarmers and continued working on it over Thanksgiving and Christmas break.

Here's the left side cabinets with their fake shaker frames put together.

 And here's progress on the right side.  As I sanded the door fronts down, I was trying to even out the horrible dents in the wood, that are just magnified by the glossy paint.  I'm not sure if I made things better or worse, but definitely the frames help camoflauge the bad wood.

Here's the right side, with all the frames up, and starting with a coat of primer.  I think I was in a hurry to get things livable when I first moved in, because I used a roller to paint the cabinets.  Definitely it was better than the hideous blue, but the roller pattern got on my nerves too after a while.  This time I only used a brush.  I have a friend (Peter) who can't stand the lines from brushes, so when he painted his cabinets, he only sprayed.  I don't think my spray technique is good enough to leave things texture-free.

I LOVE LOVE LOVE how this worked out!  Of course, it's all just fake shaker, and the problems with the cabinets themselves and the kitchen still exist (especially on blustery winter days, which we've had a lot of lately), but I am so much more satisfied with the way these look - it just adds depth and interest and helps make thing look so much more... classy?  I don't know what the word is, but I like it so much more!

The other project I worked on over Thanksgiving timeframe was a dog feeding station.  I found the plan on This Old House website.  Before I made the project, Abbey's food bowls were a bit of a mismatched, dirty, ghetto mess.  She's SO tall that we even put one bowl on top of another big bowl to get it in a better position for her.  Goodbye ghetto mix of bowls!  (green Pyrex bowl, you go back in the cupboard where you belong!)

Hello feeding station!  Two stainless bowls go in the holes.  If I ever get around to making another one of these for Oscar (it's in "the plan", I'd make a few minor changes - like for some reason, the plans give measurements using the assumption that a 1x12 is actually 12".  I don't know why they did it, and it didn't really end up being a big deal, but it was a little confusing)  Notice the face frame on the feeding station now matches my cabinets?  hmm?  nice, huh?

Then over Christmas I worked on this Vegetable Bin Toybox.  Somehow I found this blog by Ana White, where she has all sorts of furniture plans, broken down and simplified.  I had been eyeing a similar toybox in the Land of Nod catalogue for Morty, but always felt it looked way to simple to spend the money to buy it.  (that's the cheap, penny-pinching side of me coming out - thank you Dad).  Ana had a plan for this box, and so I gave it a try.  Turns out either it's way smaller than I thought it would be, or Morty has WAY more toys than I thought.  Probably the latter.  Again, it's in "the Plan" to make one or two more of these and stack them. 

Then the final thing I worked on over Christmas was this "Vinage Industrial" cart.  It was a combination of an Ana White plan and some other plan I found on the internet, that actually referenced the Ana White plan too.

I decided to personalize it a little bit by spray painting the "Natick, Mass" on it.  I had a much more complex idea incorporating Jim & Morty's name into a fictional Manufacturing Co. - like a real manufuring factory might have had -  but that was way too many letters to create a stencil.  So I went with the simple.

The top of the table is actually made of slats from a couple of pallets.  I think they were the pallets that the wood pellets came on.  They were dirty and gross and needed a lot of sanding, but it sure gave a well-worn look that I was going for.  I put a coating of amber shellac on the whole thing.  I'm not sure whether or not I like the color.  If I were to do it again, I'd probably just do it with clear shellac.  But the amber is kind of growing on me.

I found the wheels on Amazon.  I think they are Albion wheels.  Since I used reclaimed pallet wood and scrap wood from the garage build, the wheels were the most expensive part of this piece!

It doesn't have all the cool hardware of the carts you can find all over at places like Restoration Hardware, Pottery Barn, Barnhouse Electric and the like, but it is a WHOLE lot less expensive!  (if you don't count my time - which IS very precious)