Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Inspiration for a creative life...

I recently found this blog and got lost... I love her hands.

 Spirit Cloth.

At the end of my current project, I have a fantasy that I can live a little like this textile artist.  I love the way she interprets her musings and transfers them to fabric.  This is not an easy thing to do, how many times have we started a project with an idea of the final result, and we end up somewhere else.  This isn't necessarily bad but when you have a fixed destination and you end up a neighborhood over, it can be frustrating.

This can happen with sewing projects, as well as home renovations.  I thinks it's only when we exercise out creative muscles that we get there quicker.

Speaking of practice,  I think I've forgotten how to sew!

A lot of progress being made...

Lights are being moved,

Now adjustments need to be made to the swag...
Looking for ideas on how to snaz it up.

Plumbing is addressed, no more leaks!!!!

Light fixtures installed,

It looks like a rumpled bed sheet, perfect for the bungalow bedroom eventually.

Tile border installed,

Getting ready for the big push out...this week. So much left to do.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

We have a visitor

We are almost finished with the demolition, just one small attic area above the patio that needs to be cleared of insulation, and 50 sq feet of tile needs to be removed.

In the meantime, walls have been going up and coming down.  Closets have been added, cubbies have been planned.  Plenty of head scratching over how to layout the laundry room, with the placement of a dryer vent next to the hot water heater.  How it was arranged before is a mystery.

We sat outside to ponder the changes when we spotted this. Yes it looks to be a bear paw.  Estimated to be 150 -300 lbs.  This would explain why the chain link fence is bent, despite efforts to straighten it.  A neighbor would later confirm that there is a mama and cub that cross over the fence and take a drink from the cove.  I will have to be vigilant when coming home at night.

 They cross just a few feet from the outside wall of the master bedroom.  The plan is to place a security camera there to catch them in the act.

Bear scat

Monday, November 2, 2015

The life changing magic of tidying up....

Spark joy and tidy your house, this is the underlying message from Marie Kondo.

Packing necessitates putting my hands on every single possession.  This book came to me via my sister in law who supports my decluttering efforts.  It's a very easy read and it's a little book, so you will finish it quickly.  The process, however will take longer.  She recommends that you declutter by category, the first of which is clothing. This means finding all of the clothes in your house and piling it all together, and sorting through it all at once.  Keeping only things that spark joy.  Since most of my clothes have become painting clothes, there is little joy here.

My knit sweaters have already been sorted and stored.  Another element to this system is that things are stored folded on  end. I'll give anything a try once.  The reasoning behind this is visibility and efficient use of drawer space.  You can see everything at once, and you can store a ton.

This is two drawers worth of sweaters  in one drawer, with space left over.

If you lookup Konmari folding you'll find all manner of youtube videos for folding techniques.

The sock drawer is next, apparently this is wrong. According to Marie Kondo, when you ball up socks, the elastic doesn't hold up as well, and you are being disrespectful to them.  This makes me chuckle, I didn't know I was being disrespectful. I thought this was an efficient way of keeping them paired up, but I tried her method anyway.

The socks were paired up folded in three, standing on edge.  The addition of a box inside the drawer to keep them tidy, and this is what we get.

I'm actually amazed, at how much space was found.  There are some lessons here I would love to employ with the fabric collection when the house is done.
I may even write to her to ask about it.

In the meantime tidying is always a good idea and the older I get the more important it is.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

What! Another kitchen? That's BanaNas, or low VOC is not no VOC

Yes, that's right, working on the exiting property.  I have learned two valuable lessons, low voc, is not no voc. I would find myself sleeping on the deck around 4am.  Me thinks all of the painting I've been doing has finally caught up with me.  The second thing I've learned is never to look into a spray paint nozzle when trying to unclog it.

Looking for a faster way to paint and prime, I purchased Binz primer in a spray can.  It has been the easiest way to prime these cabinet doors.  It took 1 hour to prime 13 doors fronts, handles and sides. The backs had Binz applied by brush.  It was done outside, but as I was getting close to the end of the can the tip was becoming clogged.  Desperate to finish, I took it inside to use a little Goo Gone, but in my enthusiasm ended  up blasting my face with it.  Several minutes of washing my eyes out, and I finished up. It was less painful than sewing through my finger.

I've selected Alexandria Beige from Benjamin Moore. This paint is a pleasure to work with, it has a much longer open time than the farrow and ball, so you don't feel as pressured to to get the paint on, you can take your time and do it right.  Since I've gone from a very light color to a medium tone it will need a second coat. I didn't notice much of a smell while painting, but in the middle of the night I needed to get out of the house.  The ac is on fan and all of the windows are open.  Coat no. 2 can be applied 16 hours after the first coat, first it will be lightly sanded, then the backs will be painted.  The kitchen should be finished very soon.

Doors everywhere, my heart goes out to anyone trying to renovate in an occupied house.

Watching paint dry .....

Before and afters in 10 days....

Monday, October 12, 2015

The finished mid century sofa reupholster project

The goal was to change the dirty covers, plump the cushions up a bit and have a nice sofa for staging and beyond. The first time I've sat in front of a machine in a long time, I really miss it.


I even tried to keep the original covers, they were much improved after washing, but between shrinkage and restuff ing,  they were way too small.  They will be re cycled into cat bed material.  The top is the dirty example the bottom is clean, and the colors pop now, lucky kitty.

In the end, I kept the original foam  which was in good shape, and wrapped it in two types of batting.  One cushion wrap, which is thick and stiff  the other was the final wrapping with soft n crafty, both available at Joann's.  

Instead of drafting a pattern, the cloth was draped over the cushions, marked, and reproduced two times to complete the seats.

Here are some in process pics, stuffing before and after.

Draping bottom cushion.

This project was aprox $90, with fabric from Boca Bargoon's moving sale (chocolate brown wool flannel), the batting from Joann's, purchased with coupons, and the 3m super 77 adhesive used to keep the batting from shifting.  

It's good to have the cushions installed in the frame again, so the living room is beginning to get its dignity back. Time to celebrate with a little couch potato Netflix binge watching, before I get back to painting ......

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Painting cabinet doors using painters tape....

If I were a professional painter I would not make any money.  After sanding down the cabinet doors I had an epiphany and tried using painters tape to keep the paint from collecting in the lip.

So far so good but completing the doors section by section is going to take longer to complete, and use more paint. So patience is the key, they need to be left to dry completely.  No rest for the wicked, I will start the top doors.

Meanwhile back at the house, the one section  that we had decided to leave as is, is being demolished.  The damage to the wiring is such that if we keep it, the electrician will not be able to reach the wires to the corner flood lights, or the patio ceiling fans.  The other benefit, is that we can now use spray in foam to insulate the entire house.  Electricity isn't cheap here so efficiency will pay for the upgrade.

At least we haven't dropped any, but lowering these monsters from a wobbling platform is not for the faint of heart.

Marking the beams and placement.

The beams are solid cedar which are pricey to replace, we will paint these a chocolate brown and install them again.  We will need a plan for how to do this, since the beams were held by lug bolts and installed after the drywall was installed.  There is very little space between the roof deck and ceiling, it is a mystery.

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Ugh Farrow & Ball Blue Black

Here is a lovely color from Farrow & Ball, called Blue Black, this looked fantastic next to the tile sample when I took it to the showroom to pick the colors.

After taking the doors to three different painters no one wanted to touch the doors.  Finally, one told me that with the center mdf panels, he wouldn't touch them  The mdf takes paint at a different rate than the maple frame.  Also, he said it would be better to get solid wood doors, because they flex at the same rate.  The mdf center panels on these doors would result in cracked inside edges.  Now I know for next time.

He recommended that I prime the center panels first, then prime the entire door on the second round.   I used the F&B undercoat and primed.  I was so relieved that this went well.  

Next up was the final paint color. No good. The paint is streaky and lumpy and disgusting.  As the final insult, I waited the suggested drying time, although they say dark colors take a bit longer.  36 hours later, it's still tacky, it gums up my sandpaper.

Even after 48 hours they were almost there.  They were painted in 74° 50% humidity.
This shouldn't be happening. Fortunately the second coat didn't take as long.

Here's the second coat.

Sanding and a third coat is next.  The brush strokes are very pronounced so they need to be smoothed out. These are the bottom kitchen cabinet doors, once these are finished we can install the counter, hook up the sink and the corner carousel.  There's a lot riding on these doors.

  Looks like patience is required for this project, stay tuned.

Saturday, September 19, 2015

The Mid Century Sofa Demolition....

Last year I had a couch, it was from my student days, a 1980's leather Castro convertible, with a queen sized mattress tucked inside.  When my brother offered me a leather couch that was in much better shape, longer and more comfortable, I ditched mine.  Waiting waiting waiting, I get the call that the couch that was in the storage unit had invited some unwanted guests, and would I like a termite ridden couch..... ah no.  So off I went to my thrift stores to search for a couch, something with a small footprint, and stylish.

This is what I found, it looks good doesn't it?  It is in dire shape actually, the frame is in perfect condition, the cushions need to be restuffed, and the fabric is dirty.

Aside from creating new cushions and wrapping them in batting, I have little experience with upholstery projects but I thought this might be easy because the seats are all separate frames. Easy right! I can't tell you how difficult it was to peel off the covers.

 Ok, not so easy, these cushions are actually  molded into shape.

The foam is in good condition so all it needs is a little more batting. The additional batting will not allow me to reuse the cover that is spinning in the washing machine upstairs.  The covers will need to be shaped from scratch.  As luck would have it, Joann's only had one bag of cushion wrapping, I had to order the other online, so it should be in next week.  That will give me enough time to think about how I'm going to go forward, and to look for a good adhesive to hold all of these pieces together.

They won't have exactly the same shape as before but they already look better.

Stay tuned....