Thursday, December 18, 2014

Nerdy Staircase, Episode II

I thought this project would keep my dad entertained for a while but about a week after we had finalized the design, he showed up and installed my new staircase insert. I'll stain it to match when I work my way around to that section of the six years?

He copied the dimensions and construction of the 1918 version at their house. I tried finding more photos of these staircase screens? Inserts? (Maybe if I knew their proper name it would be easier to find images!?) I checked out this book at the library as it had 2 photos on the cover kind of what I was looking for but those were the only 2 photos inside as well. Still a fun book to look through.

A couple of in progress shots. The wood slats slid into slots and after they were all fitted into place, another board was secured across the top. The space is fairly square but it is a little taller the further towards the center of the house you get (no surprise there!) so he did do some cutting and adjusting here. (yep, the circa 1993 curtains still continue to hang in my windows.)

Here is a little before and after. No one will be falling off the side of the stairs now! Yay!
Good news? I can also now use this as a shelf since the cat will not be sliding through and knocking everything off. For non-breakables, at least, as she might seek revenge by poking things off between a slat. She has been taking this all rather well by spending more time getting onto the kitchen counters and the dining room table. Yes, I deserve that response, I suppose.

 Giving the stink eye from under the Christmas tree

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Mystery Items

I've been going to garage sales and antique shops since before I was born so it takes a lot to stump me. This first item has me completely stumped as not only do I know nothing about it but I can't tell how old it is. 1930's? 50's? 80's? 2014?

The main design looks Art Deco but that gold splatter top makes me think 50's/60's but then again, the vase has no aging whatsoever so it makes me think it is new.

Someone had glued foam to the bottom and I was hoping to answer my questions by peeling it off, but nope. Nothing.

It was only $1 and it is very nicely painted so I'm enjoying it on the mantle. Though it kind of bothers me every time I look at it because I may never solve the mystery!

The next item cost me $2 and it looks like it belongs with the Pyrex Drinkups.
But it appears they came with a more standard shaped coffee pot. Mine also has no markings so it's probably just a Pyrex wannabe. It looks cute with my avocado Pyrex though!

Water got in between the plastic and glass when I washed it so they only way I could figure to properly clean/dry it was to unscrew the handle and take it apart. A little ridiculous if one had to do that everyday!

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Emerald green is trendy? Really?

This project happened before it got chilly out.

I was going to change out the ripped up weather stripping and decided first I had to fix Bernie's (the previous owner's dog) scratchings.

Real classy Bernie. Real classy.

I filled in Bernie's scratches with exterior wood filler and sanded - though it still looks rough in this photo. Then scraped and sanded the rest of the door.
I am a firm believer in limiting the amount of white objects in my life with everything from walls down to clothing due to a klutzy dropping and staining disorder. I am also a firm believer blatantly 1990's style decks and patio doors shouldn't be added to the dining room of a 1915 house but that is a different rant. Back to this post, that weekend was also free paint exchange day at the Eco Store so I decided to see if I could find a replacement for that awful flat (yes, flat) white paint. I browsed the exterior paint pile, brainstorming what would match a dark red trim color and found this green. Hmm, I read somewhere emerald green and brass were popular so I thought I would give it a whirl.
It is impossible to get a good photo with bright sunlight streaming directly onto the door so the color is a tad darker than it is in this photo and to me it just looks circa 1993. Possibly because the door is circa 1993?? The red is dark enough so it doesn't look Christmas-y (my other concern) but this color still doesn't really do it for me. Wasn't it termed Forest Green in the 90's? However, it does look 100 times better than the white, especially with Bernie's markings gone. So it will stick around for a while. At least until I find a different can of free paint to try out on it! I have also confirmed that no matter what that article told me and showed me photos of, anything I do in this color combination is just going to look 90's.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Nerdy Staircase Upgrade: Part 1

My dad was looking for a new woodworking project and fortunately I am his victim. To prevent him from making another coffee table-sized boat model case, I am allowing him to do something which I am a little leery about as it will be messing with original house parts.

This is  my staircase. I apologize for the bad night shot which highlights the dingy carpet.

See the opening to the right? I'm sure it is grandfathered in, but having a large opening with a 7 foot drop, level with the stairs probably is not up to code. The cat loves it AND unfortunately the small child also loves it which gives me a heart attack when I am sitting on the couch and am realizing she snuck up the stairs as she sticks her head out over the side giggling.

My dad came up with the idea of vertical slats filling the space. Not uncommon to staircases of the time so I agreed to his design but wanted to take it a step further because, why not? Anything to keep him entertained longer, right?

These are the original 1918 slats on my parent's staircase:
(I had to confirm with my mom that she was decorated for Halloween. The doll head case is the normal décor though...)
See, they have funky tulips! I didn't want to copy their funky tulips but I could only find a couple other photos of staircases from this time period with the funky designs. I didn't find any which caught my eye so I decided to come up with my own. It had to look like it was from 1915 but being the nerd I am, here is my final design decision and the test cut my dad did:
I think it has a nice Art Nouveau flower look to it, right? Is it obvious what it really is when it is out of context? I hope no one shuns me for installing this design into my 1915 staircase! But, umm, I really don't care because I think it is going to look fantastic!
Until next time, may the force be with you!

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Moist Boxes and a Halloween Costume

It was a week before vacation and I was going crazy. There were things to pack, a dentist appointment, laundry, shopping. But let us go back to the task of laundry. I walked downstairs to throw in a load of laundry only to discover the middle (not the edges) of the basement very moist.

Nope, this isn't an episode of Hoarders. This is what happens when I have to haul half of my stuff upstairs in 3 minutes flat, wait for the floor to dry out and then spread more stuff around to air out.

Anything on the outer walls is in plastic but I wasn't guarding the middle of the floor. I had to empty and spread out several boxes of things but everything seems to have recovered. Where did the water come from?? We had a freak 6" of rain the night before so it must have come up and out of one of the cracks in the floor? I'm just glad it didn't happen while I was out of town. I would have come home to a bunch of mildew covered toys from the 80's!

And since I have everything in disarray, I may as well vacuum out those little nooks and crannies (which I never have done), give the floor a good scrubbing (also never have done) and sort through some boxes to try and weed out my hoard (an ongoing process). So that has been my life the past month. I know, I can barely stand the excitement!

On the plus side, since I had a portion of the basement scrubbed and vacuumed I had a good backdrop for Halloween photos.

Why is it I don't think she is going to go along with my costume idea next year?? Come on, I thought a Tribble was an excellent choice of costume!

(I bribed her with candy in this photo.)
Easiest costume ever. I thought of the idea, went into a thrift store and there was a fuzzy vest a couple of sizes too big for her. I did sew up the little Tribbles.

The vest is also an actual piece of children's clothing. I can't imagine buying this for your 4-year-old child to wear out and a bout. It's so hairy!

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

What Have I Been Up To Lately??

I wish I could say something exciting! But Nope! Same old, same old. Trying to keep up with normal household chores, a job, a two year old and after that is all taken care of I can accomplish bonus household projects.

I'm still working on the other wall (I swear I only get about 30 minutes a week in, maybe, so don't judge!) It's getting close. The plaster is done and I have been working on lightening the woodwork from it's flat, dark 1970's hue.

I got my obligatory fall patch of grass planted! My crabgrass patches are lessening.
I've been trying to organize the garage (another reason my interior is slow is my time is divided with outdoor projects at the moment)

I was happy to accomplish getting a cupboard hung up all by myself (I guess the husband contributed 3 minutes of hoisting it into position)
This was originally (well, 70's? original) in the bathroom. I pulled it out and being the hoarder I am, decided it would be useful in the garage. It has been sitting in the corner, on the floor of the garage for going on 3 years now?
Here is how I originally met this cupboard. Hanging awkwardly above the toilet, hiding my clothes chute door.
Now it is holding my garden supplies. I cut a board where the clothes chute opening was in the lower right section. Tin cans fit nicely and they are free so my tools are hanging out in those.
Please Note: the DDT sprayer is for decorative purposes only and it is empty. I found it in my grandparent's garage with the directions carefully wrapped around it so I'm not sure it ever was used.

I have a small back log of posts stuck in my head so I definitely need to work on getting them out and onto my blog!

Monday, August 11, 2014

Instant Kitchen Cabinet

This hutch has been lurking in the corner of the dining room because I don't have another place for it!

I want to put it in a bedroom as it doesn't match anything on the first floor but I won't have a bedroom spot for it for a while. Now it officially has to move somewhere as I am working on that corner of the room.
The bottom part I can probably safely store in the garage but the top part is a little more precarious. I did some measuring and discovered it fits my awkward kitchen corner perfectly.

This photo shows the awkwardness of the wall (pre-move-in shot)
The upstairs plumbing and the (currently unused) clothes chute (clothes drop right into the basement toilet) and upstairs plumbing are behind the angled wall.

Obviously it would look better level with the top of the windows but I fear the whole wall would come down if I tried to hang something substantial from it without prior research of what is behind that paneling. Also my grandma would haunt me for drilling holes into one (of many) of her precious hutches!

I do like I can see my stuff now in the kitchen and it's not squished in the corner of the dining room anymore. 

Friday, July 18, 2014

One Wall Down!

Yeah, Yeah, I know I am going about this project all wrong. A normal person would do all the walls at once and probably the ceiling while they are at it. But, as mentioned previously, I only can work on this maybe 20 minutes a day? If I am lucky? So only disrupting one area at a time seems to be working though I will be dusting my already "done" areas frequently. Everything will have to get a good scrub down before I can say it is all officially done.

In progress shot. I really wanted to do some color on the wall, hence the blue splotches, but most of the lighting is from the north so I was afraid it was going to be too cave-like with dark blue and the light blue just looked weird. Mark and I were debating paint colors when Lucca went over to my paint sample collection bag, started sifting through it, grabbed a color, slapped it on the wall and then walked away. We both stopped, looked at it and were very amused at the fact we liked the color. It's Concord Buff from Home Depot and it actually is pretty close to what I think? is the original color which I have unearthed under several layers of cigarette smoke and mint green paint.

She did such a good job with the wall color I'm putting her to work early!
The only decision I am regretting is using an eggshell finish because I thought it would be good to reflect a little light off the wall. As you can see it reflects the light nicely and it looks great head on. However, if you look at it from a weird angle, with a lot of sunlight - such as the photo below:
It also looks really textured in this photo, which it is not.  I tried to touch up the splotches which resulted in weirder splotches. I ended up putting another coat of paint on the entire wall so it isn't this splotchy anymore but I can still see them when I'm at an angle. The moral of the story, any little bit of shine shows every flaw so I will be doing flat the next time around! This is the only wall which does a lot of light reflecting so it will hopefully be the worst offender.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

The Two Hour Project Which Almost Wasn't

Every home project takes longer than one thinks. This should be no surprise. But this project I had in mind had nothing, absolutely nothing which could backfire and take two weeks to finish. I was just going to paint.
This has been bothering me since we moved in. Someone painted the cupboards but apparently ran out of paint? They had about 4 brush strokes worth of off-white paint so that got in the mix as well. And then I took off the cover plates and what should I see staring back at me? 
Old Linoleum!? It's hard to see but it is that brown/green marbleized kind. My parents had  some in one of their bathrooms and on a laundry table and we assumed it was original to their 1918 house. The stuff may have been made for 40 years so who knows how old mine is. I took out a flashlight and I could see it all along the crack between the upper cupboard and diagonal trim. I JUST about ripped out that 70's diagonal wood but came to my senses and realized it was not a good idea because A. They nailed right through it when they attached the wood B. It might not go all the way to the counter so then what? and C. Despite how much it intrigues me, come on, it would totally clash with my classy orange and harvest gold décor.

It's all painted and all the same color so I am satisfied for now. The mystery of the Linoleum will still be there if I ever get up the nerve to redo the kitchen.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

An Old Abandoned Farmhouse

A friend and I took the little ones to the water park in Mahoney a few days ago and since she lives in Ashland we drove back that direction instead of the way I usually take to the interstate. Not too far down the road I spotted an extremely old (for this part of the country) house perched on a hill right next to a new housing development. I remembered reading a newspaper article several years ago about an abandoned house in this area. I didn't remember details, but I remembered they mentioned the cupola and how you could see both the state capital one direction and downtown Omaha the other. This must be the house? I went home and without too much googling, found the article and photos. (The photo is from the news story. It is not still snowy here thank goodness!)
 The original family had lived in this house until 1999, when they sold it along with the farmland to a developer (hence the brand new fancy housing development next door). 1999? Seriously, the place looks haunted and like it has been abandoned for 60+ years! Now I'm not as fascinated knowing the original 1870's kitchen with cobwebs and dusty utensils I was picturing has a 1980's update and there is baseboard heating throughout. Though I'm not quite sure why the family moved away as the developer claims to (surprisingly) have no intention of tearing it down due to its historical landmark status. Couldn't they have sold off the farmland, leaving them with money from the sale and a smaller lot?  If I had inherited my family home from the 1870's I would be doing everything in my power to stay. Jobs and money are still the reasons I suppose. It's not like it's in the middle of nowhere, Omaha and Lincoln are a 1/2 hour in either direction so it's not a bad commute.  Here is another webpage with some inside photos.  It looks like it USED to be fairly updated and modern inside. What is keeping the developer from selling it to someone who will appreciate it?  You would think it would benefit their housing development too since there wouldn't be a boarded up "crappy" house front and center. Hopefully soon I will see a story about someone fixing it up! I also really want to go up in that cupola!

Monday, May 26, 2014

Baby Proofed Deck Railings

Last weekend my dad and I tediously dug through the lumber at Menards and came up with enough straight boards to fix up my deck. When I came home from work last week this is what I found!

It would have taken me all week just to take the old railing down but my dad somehow managed to take it apart, cut all of the boards to size, assemble them and put them up in less than 8 hours! It still needs some finishing work but it's already an improvement.

 Here is a before shot from several years ago.

Here is an unfinished section which shows how far apart the spindles were. Not only could the small child easily fall through but I bet a grown adult could also have fallen right through!

Hmm, now if I only I had a gate and a whole lot of screen I could just open the door and contain both the cat and small child for some quiet time at last!!!

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Belated Flea Market Finds

I swear I wrote a post in April but I must have just thought about it, organized the photos and then thought I had written it! There has been a lot of entertaining of the small child and non-exciting yard work happening around here. It is rainy and cold today so no outdoor work or walks to the park.

The "Mother of All Garage Sales" AKA a flea market at the fairgrounds was, what? the first weekend in April? It has is a good mix of garage sale and flea market items though most of it is a little pricier than garage sales since they do have to make up for the cost of the booth.

I did find a Spring Blossom Salt and Pepper for $1.

In another booth I spotted a set of Butterprint fridgies which turned out to be $45 so I thought the $2.50 prices was a typo on the pressed flowers casserole. 

I picked it up expecting a chip or wear on it somewhere. I did find a  small chip on the lid but it seemed to be good otherwise. I brought it up to pay and she said "you saw it has a chip on the lid? That's why it's priced the way it is." Um, Yep, I saw it (and it's just a plain old lid so I don't really care...)

There. I posted something for April. I do have some more posts on back log so I'll see if I can get them out of my brain and onto the interwebs. 

Thursday, March 27, 2014

A Woodland Wall Collage, Sort Of

Something happened to my blog, meaning my background is disappearing and reappearing at random! Meh, I should do some custom cool background like everyone else does but for the moment it is going to be weird

I am always sending my mom random real estate listings so we can discuss them and I have been finding more and more my description reading "Pinterest exploded all over this house" to listings you can tell were updated and staged. I am willing to admit the only reason I can recognize this is I spend too much time browsing Pinterest and Pinterest has finally exploded onto my small child's wall. NO I didn't paint it gray and add yellow chevrons...though maybe...nope! Fortunately I have no painted woodwork in the house so I can't even be tempted by this trend.

See, probably not as bad as you were thinking. The top dresser drawer didn't even get closed, though I did move the gross diaper pail which usually hangs out in the corner.

I was going to give the clock an orange background but then it ended up by the butterfly so I'll have to figure out something different for it. The orange flowers kind of work.

I've been wanting to hang up the cute embroidery which I...made (ha ha, j/k) I picked up for $3.99 at a thrift store in Denver last year. Then I came across the owl needlepoint from my grandma's stash - which I suspect she also picked up at a garage sale. I now had a theme. It fit the rest of little one's room theme but the other items I wanted to include in the collage? gallery wall?, a bright pink print and game board map, clashed with this theme so I had to dig up more stuff! I probably have something hidden away in a closet which I have forgotten about but what fun is that!?

We were at the Goodwill Wearhouse in Omaha which sells things by the pound. It is fascinating, disgusting and a fun treasure hunt all a the same time. Not for a weak thrifter, that is for sure! I wouldn't recommend buying a pillow or 15 pound inflatable mattress (which I saw 3 of) but I always find crazy things for the wall. I did paint the butterfly to match the dresser pulls as it was just white before.
The fabric in the hoops are scraps from the cut down curtains. Ohh,look at me being all matchy, matchy with things!