Weekend Work Order

I’ve gathered everything together to create new window shades.

I have lots of orange-handled scissors but the ones with a ribbon tied to the handle are for FABRIC ONLY.

I have lots of orange-handled scissors but the ones with a ribbon tied to the handle are for FABRIC ONLY.

Once I figure out how to do one I have at least 6 to fabricate.

During the renovation I kept all the shades together with their hardware.

During the renovation I kept all the shades together with their hardware.

I mean I am literally going to “fabricate” the shades: put fabric on them. The old shades matched the old wall color — a pale yellow ochre — now the wall is Revere Pewter so I’m covering them with some greige canvas fabric.

This fabric is the perfect color with strands of grey crossing strands of natural colored canvass but it seems too stiff for curtains, perfect for shades.

This fabric is the perfect color with strands of grey crossing strands of natural colored canvass but it seems too stiff for curtains, perfect for shades.

The old shades were made by Smith and Noble and over the years have become spotted and dirty.  Last night I cleaned the fabric shades so they would be dry before laminating them with another fabric.

I'm using the floor space between the living room and dining room to lay out the shades.

I’m using the floor space between the living room and dining room to lay out the shades.

Since they are made from a material that cannot become saturated with water, i.e. not plastic, I carefully vacuumed them and wiped them with a damp sponge.

I have a can of spray adhesive.

I have a can of spray adhesive (on the right).

I also looked up a number of procedures for applying the fabric and decided to follow this one (for vinyl shades) and this one (for fabric shades).

I'm also planning to wash the windows.

I’m also planning to wash the windows.

Never happy with just one project I’d also like to wash the windows before rehanging the shades. I’ll start in the living room (2 windows).

The shade in the left window is a yellowish tone which I hope to change to greige.

The shade in the left window is a yellowish tone which I hope to change to greige.

If everything goes well I do one for the west side front window

The window on the west front side of the house can't use more than a simple treatment.

The window on the west front side of the house can’t use more than a simple treatment.

And the dining room.

A double window in the dining room.

A double window in the dining room.

If you have tips please give them to me.  I’ve put this off long enough.

Are you taking something off the back burner this weekend?

Tired of Hearing About the Gallery Wall?

The gallery wall from the mudroom to the kitchen is finished. Finally.

The gallery wall is on the left when entering the kitchen from the mudroom.

The gallery wall is on the left when entering the kitchen from the mudroom.

I would call this a collected gallery wall with an eclectic theme.  I put together things I like and things that have personal meaning.

This wall is all about us.

This wall is all about us.

1. Small stone shelf from Wells Cathedral, 2. Pencil drawing of a mill by Yours Truly, 3. Piece of drift wood from Mother, 4. Biblical quote given by our son, 5. Chalkboard with vintage frame, 6. Plate, 7. Postcard of drawing I found attractive, 8. My baby picture, 9. Photo of me in college, 10. Vintage photo of Paris, 11. Favorite photo of Charlie, 12. Bocca della Verita replica from Rome, 13. and 14. Postcard of a painting of Venice, 15. Photograph of my great grandmother, 16. Vintage photo of Paris, 17. Celtic cross from Ireland.

1. Small stone shelf from Wells Cathedral, 2. Pencil drawing of a mill by Yours Truly, 3. Piece of drift wood from Mother, 4. Biblical quote given by our son, 5. Chalkboard with vintage frame, 6. Plate, 7. Postcard of drawing I found attractive, 8. My baby picture, 9. Photo of me in college, 10. Vintage photo of Paris, 11. Favorite photo of Charlie, 12. Bocca della Verita replica from Rome, 13. and 14. Postcard of a painting of Venice, 15. Photograph of my great grandmother, 16. Vintage photo of Paris, 17. Celtic cross from Ireland.

It’s not symmetrical but it is balanced along a diagonal axis running from bottom left to upper right.

The wall is balanced diagonally with the chalkboard being the approximate center.

The wall is balanced diagonally with the chalkboard being the approximate center.

Unfortunately I can’t take a photograph of the full wall because the hallway is too narrow.

The left side.

The left side.

The right side.

The right side.

Rather than being viewed as one scene, each item can be discovered individually.

Before

Before

Everyone who enters the house will have to pass by it.

After.

After.

Of course there’s always room for tweaking.

What are you working on?

The Final Four

We had four final tasks left for the electrician before we could say “done and satisfied”.

We have entirely new electric service for the entire house which was a costly addition to the renovation.

We have entirely new electric service for the entire house which was a costly addition to the renovation.

They were just annoying little items that the electrician could do faster and better than we could.

There are 3 bell-shaped pendants over the kitchen peninsula.

There are 3 bell-shaped pendants over the kitchen peninsula.

No. 1 – Change out an outlet in the kitchen that the inspector discovered could not actually be plugged into. (I was careful to check all the other outlets to make sure they could be used.)

The outlet was replaced with one in which we could insert a plug.

The outlet was replaced with one in which we could insert a plug.

No.2 – Change the center light over the sink in the peninsula (again) due to a crack in the globe.

Another crack.

Another crack.

Now be careful everyone because these lights hang low and they are fragile.

Unfortunately, this entire fixture needs to be replaced when it is broken -- just replacing the glass is not an option.

Unfortunately, this entire fixture needs to be replaced when it is broken — just replacing the glass is not an option.

No. 3 – Replace the smoke detector from the basement which was chirping in a pattern to tell us it was faulty. (Yes, I changed out the battery and that was not the issue — wrong chirping pattern.)

This faulty smoke detector has been replaced with a working one.

This faulty smoke detector has been replaced with a working one.

No. 4 – Replace the two AFCI breakers with traditional breakers. These stupid  AFCI’s clip off the minute your back is turned seemingly for no reason.

AFCI breakers have test buttons and are very sensitive.

AFCI breakers have test buttons and are very sensitive.

Until they have perfected them we’re done with them.

No more faulty breakers.

No more faulty breakers.

So it appears that all our electric is working order and we have lots of light everywhere. Thank you and keep the lights on, Sparky. (I can highly recommend our electricians found here.)

Is there something in your house that’s not working correctly? Are you waiting to call the pro until you have a list of things?

Some Fall Plants

Today our son is coming over to mow the lawn which is covered with fallen leaves.  The trees are beautiful but do require ongoing maintenance to keep the leaves from filling the rain gutters and covering the grass.

Fall colors in the yard are truly stunning but also stunning are the vast numbers of fallen leaves.

Fall colors in the yard are truly stunning but also stunning are the vast numbers of fallen leaves. (Photo from 2013)

Since things are going to be neatened up a bit I stopped by a farm stand and picked up some decorative kale for the side porch.

Ornamental kale - 10 for $20.

Ornamental kale – 10 for $20.

I’m really enjoying our new side porch.

How cute is this?

How cute is this?

I also picked up a few not-orange gourds for the living room.

Fresh colored gourds - green, yellow and white.

Fresh colored gourds – green, yellow and white.

I’m finally getting in the fall mood. I just wasn’t ready before.

Are you decorating for fall? Or waiting for Christmas?

Framing and Mat Cutting

The thing that’s been holding up the finishing of the gallery wall is that I needed mats for some of the pictures and they needed to be custom cut.

The brown paper space holders are still in place.

The brown paper space holders are still in place.

Custom cut mats are expensive so the next best thing was for me to find a piece of mat board in a color that would work for the remainder of the items. I had to ask the person behind the counter at Michael’s if they had any other mat board in stock other than what was out and she found a piece of taupe (Michael’s moniker) which I would call mushroom. It’s actually very close to the Benjamin Moore paint color “Sparrow”.  Mat board comes in 20 inch by 30 in sheets for about $16 and they won’t cut it down and sell a half sheet, for instance. So armed with my inconveniently large piece of mat board I set up a mat cutting station on the kitchen island.

Matt cutting station on the well-lit kitchen island.

Matt cutting station on the well-lit kitchen island.

I do have a secret weapon when it comes to mat board cutting which I bought in college and have kept for decades.  Oddly I knew exactly where it was and although the box was rather torn up my Dexter Mat Cutter was still in perfect condition.

The Dexter mat cutter.

The Dexter mat cutter.

The Dexter is designed to cut the interior bevel in a mat. I put in a new blade with is key to a clean cut.

The blade can be set at any angle -- the greater the angle the more difficult the cut.

The blade can be set at any angle — the greater the angle the more difficult the cut.

Lightly mark with an erasable writing instrument (pencil or chalk) on the front of the mat guidelines that match the desired opening.

I mark the mat board lightly with pencil.

I mark the mat board lightly with pencil.

With the blade tilted in the mat cutter (it can also be used straight for cutting the outside edges) line the mat cutter up in one corner and cut along the line.  It helps to push the flat edge of the cutter along a straight edge.

Be sure the bevel is going in the right direction along all the sides.

Be sure the bevel is going in the right direction along all the sides.

It’s important to turn the mat as you cut it so the bevels are all going the same way.

The beveled inner edge of the mat.

The beveled inner edge of the mat.

Because this mat board has a black underside the bevel is black instead of the more usual white.

The underside of the mat board is black, the top is taupe. It could be used either way.

The underside of the mat board is black, the top is taupe. It could be used either way.

Two more finished.

Vintage photos of Paris that came in the mail as a postcard for an art exhibit.

Vintage photos of Paris that came in the mail as a postcard for an art exhibit.

My vintage Paris photos.

What are you hanging?

The Space Everyone Sees

Days 8 and 9 of the 30 Day Challenge to Declutter are the Mudroom/entry hall and coat closet respectively. Last week I realized that adjacent areas to newly clean spaces look atrocious and the comparison makes it difficult to pat one’s self on the back for all the good work.

I few items get waylaid in the mudroom while we're coming and going.

A few items get waylaid in the mudroom while we’re coming and going.

The garbage, recycling, and old microwave how now been put in their respective places.

Mudroom back to normal

Mudroom back to normal

The mudroom itself stays fairly neat so all that it needed was a quick vacuum.

The mudroom closet doesn't look like this anymore.  Let's organize!

The mudroom closet doesn’t look like this anymore. Let’s organize!

The closet is a different story. This week’s realization is that I keep things in the totally wrong place.  Why must I keep a giant roll of bubble wrap in the mudroom closet and why isn’t all my wrapping gear together?

Coats and boots belong in this closet.

Coats and boots belong in this closet.

Our mudroom closet is essentially a coat and shoe closet with the purpose of keeping the mudroom itself from becoming cluttered with junk.

I don't mind the vintage slide projector in the closet but the bubble wrap has got to go.  I know the perfect place.

I don’t mind the vintage slide projector in the closet but the bubble wrap has got to go. I know the perfect place.

After removing incongruous items and finding a suitable place for them I designated a shelf for me, a shelf for Charlie and a shelf for shoes.

Much better.

Much better.

The top shelf has a basket for hats, scarves, and gloves.

Thankfully we can keep the doors closed.

Thankfully we can keep the doors closed.

Now if I could only finish the hall wall gallery. It’s coming.

Do you store items in a logical place? Or stash them then can’t find them?

Freebies — I Wonder If They Work

I recently found 2 little freebies: Auto Fresh Car Fragrance in Mango Mandarin and Reynolds Handivac Vacuum Food Storage system.

The car fragrance thingy clips onto the air vents in the car.

The car fragrance thingy clips onto the air vents in the car.

The first item was buried deep in our laundry room. It still had fragrance but it was totally dried out so I opened it and added some vanilla extract.

The original liquid was oily and the vanilla is not but it's worth a try.

The original liquid was oily and the vanilla is not but it’s worth a try.

I used it for a couple of days in my car but the scent was too strong for me.

Maybe this will help clear the air.

Maybe this will help clear the air.

Now it’s in Charlie’s car which could use a little freshness.

The other item, Handivac Vacuum Food Storage system, was on the free table at church and had never been opened.

Who has ever used one of these?

Who has ever used one of these?

I have been wanting to try a FoodSaver so I thought I’d see if this worked for us before we go to the bigger expense of a larger machine.

Now I need to buy some of these bags.  I think Charlie is going to love this thing.

Now I need to buy some of these bags. I think Charlie is going to love this thing.

I know I have to buy special plastic bags.  I’ll let you know how it works out.

Are you exercising your right to freebies?