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Sunday, July 24, 2011

A Sneak Peek!

I'm not going to divulge all right now, although looking at the pictures it's probably going to be pretty obvious what's happening.




So stay tuned and see what happens next!

Too Hot to Work Outside

Across the country temperatures have been outrageous this past week.  I don't know, maybe with age I'm getting soft, but I just couldn't bring myself to work outside, so I did a little project in my workshop in the nice, cool basement.

Start with a small oak stool - boring!


So I primed and painted with some Behr primer and paint leftover from the back porch remodel.


I've noticed that numbering things is all the rage lately, so I thought I'd give it a try.  I don't have stenciling supplies, so using Word (you know - the computer program), I wrote out "No. 173" and went through all the fonts until I found one that looked kinda old world-y.  Then I realized I didn't have any carbon paper.  So I used some painter's tape to tape my printed number to the stool and traced the outline of the numbers onto the paint.  I just used a pen and pressed down hard enough to leave an imprint but not too hard so as not to push through the paper.  Then I very carefully painted in the numbers using black satin finish paint left over from some long-forgotten project.


Then, using my tools of ignorance - 


I began my favorite part of this kind of project - distressing!!


I used a Minwax stain pen in Mahogany to lend some grime to the distressed parts, then sanded over those parts so it didn't look "painted in." After that dried I put a quick wipe on, wipe off coat of Minwax "Ipswich Pine" stain to give the whole thing a bit of a patina and tone down some of that bright white.


The final step was to put some satin polyurethane on the seat, just because it's right next to the sink and the shower.  I liked the way the numbers have a worn through look to them, although you can't really see that in the pictures.


And here it is in context!  We'll probably put some little basket on it for small odds-n-ends.  And by-the-way - It's the lighting, there is absolutely NO PINK in the bathroom!!


Monday, July 11, 2011

The Back Door

Just when you thought you'd heard the last of the back porch - mwahhhahahaa!  Seems like I'm always remembering "one last thing."  This weekend was the back door.  Here's the before:


From that angle and distance, I guess it doesn't look all that bad with the exception of the bare spot from my experimental heat-gun test last fall.  But up close the whole door looked like this:


So there wasn't much choice but to strip this thing down to the bare wood.  After all, as you've read ad nausem - that's what the rest of the back porch went through.

So out came the handy dandy Wagner heat gun.  As you can see, I had a "plan".  Actually the next picture shows either my obsession-compulsion, or some level of ADD.  I did all the rails first, then the stiles.


Then I came to the area with the windows.  Now, I knew that I couldn't aim the heat gun right at the glass because it would crack.  Well, I have now learned that you really shouldn't aim the heat gun anywhere near the glass - one of them cracked (this will lead to another post probably later in the week).  So- no heat.  Out came the paint stripper, and after two applications - it's on its way! 


At the end of the day, a day that started with dreams of a finished door, I have a back door well on its way to being re-finished.


If you've followed this blog at all, you realize that the back porch is all brown and white.  We really wanted to add some color, but we're not really adventurous when it comes to color.  I went through the "oops" paints in my workshop and considered each - greens, reds, blue, pink, none of them seemed to fit with 1 - the porch, and 2 - our personalities.  Then I remembered this little tool box/planter I made this past winter:


I LOVE this shade of yellow.  It's hard to really see on a computer screen, and I put a stain "patina" on the toolbox, but it really is a nice, creamy, muted yellow.  So we tried to consider the whole door.  Did we want it monochrome or some combination.  

Before you laugh too hard - I have Photoshop, but it's an oooold version, and I'm not really great with it.  So out came the crayons to get some estimation of what we'd like to see.  I didn't have a crayon in the exact color, but with a little imagination we could see that "E" was going to be the layout we'd like:


There you have it...the stripping and planning of the back door.  Hopefully soon you will be honored (c'mon, you gotta know I say that tongue-in-cheek!) with posts on how to repair a window in a wood door, and the (final?) reveal of the back porch door!

Monday, July 4, 2011

OK, I'm Obsessed - One Final Look

I just saw this first picture today and thought it was a good "Before and After" opportunity.  In case you haven't been following along - it's about the back porch!

BEFORE:

AFTER: 

Hopefully I can stop obsessing and any further pictures about the back porch will be incidental!

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Retro Project - The Back Yard Fence


In the summer of 2001 we grew tired of our yard looking like this:


There's a few things to notice in that picture.  First and foremost is our little buddy Bruegger.  He was our first dog and died a grand old age a couple years ago.  In the background you can see our old chain link fence.  That thing was horrible, but we had to live with it - until 2001!  Also notice the car port, that'll make another appearance in a future "Retro Post".

We took out the old chain link, put in a Home Depot picket fence and I built an arbor for some climbing roses.  The fence was stained with Behr Deck Stain in Cedar, it came out very orange but we figured it would darken over time, which it did.


It was fun for a while though, whenever friends were coming over for the first time, we gave general directions and told them to just look for the orange fence!


I won't go into details here, but you can also see that the carport was done too (as well as the driveway).  I do like how the fence darkened though!


In the pictures below - the Before and After:
There are some good, some bad.  One bad is that the neighbors have removed all the big old trees, and another painted his garage a hideous blue! Oh well, can't worry too much about what the neighbors do! 

So there you have it, a Retro Project - The Back Yard Fence.

A Day of Odds-N-Ends


Yesterday was one of those days when I just couldn't get into any one big project.  So I went around the yard and did a few of those little jobs that have been niggling in the back of my mind.

Years ago someone on This Old House said that water was the worst enemy of a house.  Ever since then I worry - just a little bit - when it rains.  After shingling the back porch I started worrying about water overflowing the rain barrel and causing damage, so I put in an overflow spigot.  I'll attach a length of hose and direct the rain away from the house!


So, while I had the drill out, I decided to fix the downspout too.  When I installed that flexible part, I wasn't paying attention and put it inside the downspout:


I didn't think an "after" picture was necessary, but you get the idea.  Now all the water should flow into the rain barrel!

Then there was this little strip under the trap door on the side of the porch.  I tried shingling it, but the pieces were too small and just kept splitting.  So I pulled out some scrap plywood, cut to size, now it just needs to be stained (ran out of time to do it yesterday).


So, to get to the side porch for the shingling project, I had to take down a portion of the fence:


Because of all the plants and bushes in that area, it was decided for me (LOL) that the fence should be re-stained before being put back up:


Obviously - then we installed it!
 

I added this picture just because Linus is so damned cute!


That's it.  Nothing fancy, nothing major, but not everything can be a major renovation!  Right?  

Friday, July 1, 2011

Getting Rid Of An Old Pile Of Concrete

A summer or two ago I rented a jackhammer and broke up the old sidewalk that ran across the back yard.  Because I went from this:


To this:


I had no way to carry off the detritus!  I love my little Versa, but when you own a house, what do you do with stuff like this?:


Well, I'll tell you what to do!  You walk this little guy around the neighborhood:


And notice when one of your neighbors is putting in a new sidewalk and has one of these onsite:


Then you offer a little of this:


Then you haul all the junk to the curbside, load it onto the dumptruck 15 minutes later when the neighbor comes by


Then you have a freshly cleaned spot in your side yard!


PS - My neighbor wouldn't take the cash, so I'll have the lady of the house put together one of these for him:


Thank a million Corey!

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