Category Archives: Bargains

Bloggers Meet Over Broken Dishes

Last week one of the blogs I regularly read, Cape of Dreams, started a new project.

Jessica has started a mosaic on the foundation of her house.

Jessica has started a mosaic on the foundation of her house.

Jessica is covering the foundation of her house with a broken-dish mosaic.

You know I'm a dish lover.

You know I’m a dish lover.

She solicited more dishes from her readers who live nearby.  Little did I know when I offered some dishes she was already in my neck of the woods (Maryland).

Jessica, Jo, and Jessica's mother.

Jessica, Jo, and Jessica’s mother. (Where’s my smile?)

Jessica and her mother stopped by The Glade on their way back north. They’re cheery and chummy.  I hope you get to meet them one day, too.

Each of these dishes had a chip or crack.

Each of these dishes had a chip or crack.

She took a box of dishes which I hope will become part of her mosaic.

I hope these mostly white with green accents dishes will work into Jessica's color scheme.

I hope these mostly white with green accents dishes will work into Jessica’s color scheme.

In the meantime it was so great to meet someone I feel I already know after reading her blog posts.

Have you ever met someone long-distance then met them in person?

A Few Odd and Ends

These past few weeks have not been very productive in terms of working on the house.  I have a 9-5 job which keeps me busy during the week.  I’ve also started going back to the gym before work so when I get home on these 90+ degree days I’m fairly tuckered out.

The plants are beginning to produce teeny tiny vegetables.

The plants in the garden are beginning to produce teeny tiny vegetables.

Charlie has been concentrating on the potager.

Thankfully we've been storing the casing in the house or else the lumber yard would refuse exchanging it.

Thankfully we’ve been storing the casing in the house or else the lumber yard would refuse exchanging it.

He did find time to call our local lumber yard and plan for the wrong trim switcheroo which is supposed to happen today. (We’re switching the wrongly delivered colonial trim with ranch casing, not because we like it better but because it matches the rest of the house.)

Item #2 is being replaced with something less ornate.

Item #2 is being replaced with something less ornate which, oddly, is higher priced.

I also emailed the lumber yard to get receipts for our recent phone orders.  While I can see the debit on our charge card I always like an itemized list.

Even before I perused the sample books I walked around the store looking for a deal.

Even before I perused the sample books I walked around the store looking for a deal.

Last weekend I spent the morning at the wallpaper store and yesterday I placed my order.

This wallpaper should be casual and coordinated.

This wallpaper should be casual and coordinated.

I ordered six single rolls (@ $34.99 each less a 30% discount) of Blue Strie by Blue Mountain.  The salesperson at the store told me the company is discontinuing this paper and only has 14 rolls in stock, happily I only need 6.

My paper is on page 114 of this swatch book -- the first book that caught my eye.  Wonder why??!!

My paper is on page 114 of this swatch book — the first book that caught my eye. Wonder why??!!

Wallpaper is priced per single roll but is packaged as double rolls so we’ll be receiving 3 double rolls shipped directly to the house.

I hope this wallpaper looks really BLUE when it's up on the walls.

I hope this wallpaper looks really BLUE when it’s up on the walls.

Now that the wallpaper is ordered I’ve made a list of supplies I will need on order to be prepared:

  • 6″ taping knife

    Taping knife used to hold wallpaper while trimming with razor blade.

    Taping knife used to hold wallpaper while trimming with razor blade.

  • wallpaper primer
  • plumb bob or long level
  • wallpaper wetting tray

    Since my paper is pre-pasted I'll be using a wetting tray to moisten the paste on the paper.

    Since my paper is pre-pasted I’ll be using a wetting tray to moisten the paste on the paper.

  • razor blades
  • straight edge
  • tape measure
  • seam roller

    A seam roller is used to give extra pressure at the seams -- often the first area to fail in wallpaper.

    A seam roller is used to give extra pressure at the seams — often the first area to fail in wallpaper.

  • bucket
  • sponge
  • paper smoother

    A smother helps remove all the air bubbles under the paper.

    A smother helps remove all the air bubbles under the paper.

I’m sure we already own the items in green above if I can locate them in the chaos of the dining room. Tonight I’ll get or find the other items.

The dining room has been the catchall as we've been working in the conservatory.

The dining room has been the catchall as we’ve been working in the conservatory.

This weekend I’ll clear out the dining room and prime the upper walls with wallpaper primer while (hopefully) the guys work on installing trim.

Have you stalled on a project? What got you going again?

Ticking Again

We have 2 battery-operated ceramic clocks.

My ceramic frog clock was a gift from my mother.

My ceramic frog clock was a gift from my mother.

The conservatory clock.

The conservatory clock.

Both of them stopped ticking.

The clock runs on a single AA battery.

The clock runs on a single AA battery.

I changed the batteries but they still would not work.

When this blew apart I knew I couldn't put it back together.

When this blew apart I knew I couldn’t put it back together.

I took them apart and found they were both corroded. And the whole mechanism popped apart.

Clock movement from a craft store.

Clock movement from a craft store.

For $8 each I bought replacement clockworks at Michael’s craft store.

I unscrewed the old movement from the clock.

I unscrewed the old movement from the clock.

They’re not difficult to put together but they take a little finesse to get the hour hand, the minute hand, and the second hand to all work.

I used a 3/8 inch mechanism -- they also come in 1/4 inch and 5/8 inch sizes.

I used a 3/8 inch mechanism — they also come in 1/4 inch and 5/8 inch sizes.

On the first try the hour hand was moving ahead an hour about every five minutes.

Follow the instruction on the back of the package as to the order of pieces.

When the battery is inserted in the back the clock started ticking.

I took it apart again and reseated all the pieces.  Tighten the screws only finger tight; using pliers will bind up the mechanism.

I darkened the hands with a Sharpie.

I darkened the hands with a Sharpie.

I used new hands on the frog clock and colored them black with a Sharpie to make them more visible against the clock face.

The old hands were usable but needed a tiny adjustment with some pliers.

The old hands were usable but needed a tiny adjustment with some pliers.

On the dolphin clock I used the old hands since they were smaller and more appropriate (and cuter) than the ones that came with the movement.

Love this clock.

This clock hangs over the pantry in the kitchen.

Both clocks are now back on their hooks and keeping time.

The dolphin clock hangs in the conservatory.

The dolphin clock hangs in the conservatory.

A reasonably cheap fix. By the way, fixing clocks is not my cup of tea.

What craft do you enjoy?

From TV Tray to PB Tray

I had the bright idea of changing my repainted TV tray tables to look more like the Pottery Barn version of a similar table.

My grandmother's TV trays (from the 1960s) went from faux malachite (original finish) to faux marbre (my finish).

My grandmother’s TV trays (from the 1960s) went from faux malachite (original finish) to faux marbre (my finish).

Using my favorite spray paint, Metallic Charcoal, starting with the tops I sprayed on multiple layers of paint.

The key to great spray paint coverage is building up thin layers.

The key to great spray paint coverage is building up thin layers.

The legs were already black so I just gave them a light covering of chalkboard spray paint (which I had on hand).

Black chalkboard paint covered the dings on the legs and supports.

Black chalkboard paint covered the dings on the legs and supports.

After doing the legs and under-supports I hit the tops once again.

Even the first wet coat of Metallic Charcoal over the lightly sanded TV tray looks better (to me).

After spraying the tops I sanded them lightly before giving them additional coats.

After the first couple of layers I lightly sanded the tops.

Metallic charcoal dries to an enamel-like sheen.  When sanded and wiped it looks more like slate.

Metallic charcoal dries to an enamel-like sheen. When sanded and wiped it looks more like slate.

I was looking for the sheen to be the final coat from the metallic paint.

Metallic charcoal is dark grey like gunmetal.

Metallic charcoal is dark grey like gunmetal.

These trays are as useful as ever, just a little updated.

Carter table on left; Glade table on right.

Carter table on left; Glade table on right.

Thanks, PB, for the inspiration.

Where do you get your inspiration?

I Put the Handles on Myself

Back when I bought handles for the pantry and mudroom closet doors I purchased extras for whatever might arise in the future.

I bought extra antique pewter handles for the closet doors when the first ones were installed in the pantry.

I bought extra antique pewter handles for the closet doors when the first ones were installed in the pantry.

They were on a good sale, I liked them, and I wanted the handles throughout the house to match.

Doors -- no handles.

Doors — no handles.

When the conservatory and master bedroom doors were installed I got busy putting handles on the double Shaker-style doors.

I marked a cross on the door and tried to drill at the intersection of the vertical and horizontal lines.

I marked a cross on the door and tried to drill at the intersection of the vertical and horizontal lines.

First I marked the holes for the handles (2 for each) similarly to how the pantry doors were positioned.

Even though the holes were exactly the right size the placement needed to be adjusted ever so slightly to get the handle extensions inserted.

Even though the holes were exactly the right size the placement needed to be adjusted ever so slightly to get the handle extensions inserted.

Then I drilled the holes.

The handle had to be coaxed into the holes.

The handle had to be coaxed into the holes.

Each time I needed to enlarge the hole just a bit so the part of the handle that inserts into the wood was able to fit. I used the same drill bit and just grinded it around a little. Drilling a second hole was not an option on these natural wood doors.

Cabinet knob screws or #8 machine screws -- these are too short.

Cabinet knob screws or #8 machine screws — these are too short.

The screws that came with the handles were too short for this installation so we bought additional longer machine screws in the knob department of Home Depot. Actually I ended up making 2 trips because the first selection was still a bit short. Then I got the bright idea of taking a screw out of the already finished handles to measure against at the store.  I  know: Delayed genius is no genius at all.

The spall space between the door and the handle flange disappeared when the screw was tightened from the back.

The spall space between the door and the handle flange disappeared when the screw was tightened from the back.

The handles didn’t insert all the way into the door until the screw was tightened against it.

The handles on the master bedroom closet door are more used for pulling the door closed than opening it since it opens into the walk-in closet.

The handles on the master bedroom closet door are more used for pulling the door closed than opening it since it opens into the walk-in closet.

Voila! Handles on the double doors.

Note to self -- find the wall plate for the outlets in the bedroom hall.

Note to self — find the wall plate for the outlets in the bedroom hall.

Are you handy with small power tools? Do you measurements sometimes lack the desired accuracy?

The Ironwork is History

Since we changed the location of both the back and front entrances to house, we took down the ironwork that was holding up the small roofs over the stoops.

The roof over the front stoop used to be held up with arabesque ironwork.

The roof over the front stoop used to be held up with arabesque ironwork.

This ironwork may or may not have been original to the house but it was there when I purchased The Glade in 1997. (The house was built in 1946 and the ironwork may have been added in the 1960s.)

The former kitchen entrance also had a stoop held up by ironwork.

The former kitchen entrance also had a stoop held up by ironwork.

Charlie dismantled the porches as he was our main demolition guy. (I wanted him to do the deconstruct rather than the contractor so there would be more care and less destruction.  I’m sure it was the right thing to do.)

The ironwork was listed at $100 just to keep scam callers from calling. (Free things almost anybody will take.)

The ironwork was listed at $100 just to keep scam callers from calling. (Free things almost anybody will take.)

From time to time I have listed the ironwork from the porches on Craigslist hoping someone would want it.

When Charlie removed the kitchen porch roof the ironwork was no longer necessary.

When Charlie removed the kitchen porch roof the ironwork was no longer necessary.

Our purpose was not so much to make money but to have these large, awkward, heavy pieces hauled away.

We've been using some iron railing removed from the back porch (which has since become the conservatory) as an entrance to the potager.

We’ve been using some iron railing removed from the back porch (which has since become the conservatory) as an entrance to the potager.

Fast forward to yesterday a man came for the scrolly supports for a garden he’s constructing for his wife. He was delighted that it is the heavy old style iron instead of look-alike aluminum.

We've been "storing" the ironwork under the trees just beyond the vegetable garden since 2013. It's usually covered by tall grass.

We’ve been “storing” the ironwork under the trees just beyond the vegetable garden back by the lawn chairs since 2013. It’s usually covered by tall grass.

We ended up letting him have the ironwork for $25.  He’s happy; we’re happy.

What’s your experience with Craigslist?

The Grace of Gardeners

When Charlie plans the garden he always leaves space for gifts from friends.

12 of 16

12 of 16

We have sixteen 4′ by 4′ squares which were built using salvaged wood.

The soil is simply marked with the edge of a board.

The soil is simply marked with the edge of a board.

In the square-foot method each vegetable has its own spacing so Charlie temporarily marks the surface of the soil to keep everything tidy.

One SunGold tomato plant will eventually fill a 2' by 2' space and require a sturdy cage.

One SunGold tomato plant will eventually fill a 2′ by 2′ space and require a sturdy cage.

One of our favorite vegetables is Sun Gold tomatoes which we usually get from our friend who runs an organic farm and a CSA (community supported agriculture) program.  This year he saved us 4 plants.

L to R: large red tomatoes, small red tomatoes, pear-shaped yellow tomatoes, sweet banana peppers, good size green peppers, medium sweet yellow peppers, and big onions above.

L to R: large red tomatoes, small red tomatoes, pear-shaped yellow tomatoes, sweet banana peppers, good size green peppers, medium sweet yellow peppers, and big onions above.

Another friend who grows his own seedlings generally blesses us with a variety of  different vegetables (above).

Tomatoes ringed with basil.

Tomatoes ringed with basil.

The tomatoes require 4 square feet each. Some are planted 4 to a square.  Others are planted in the center of a square surrounded by basil which requires 1 square foot per plant.

Leeks from last year are ready to harvest.

Leeks, gifts from last year, are ready to harvest.

Peppers plants also require 1 square foot per plant. And onions are 9 per square foot.

The radishes are almost ready to harvest -- 2nd square from the left, front row.

The radishes are almost ready to harvest — 2nd square from the left, front row.

A huge thanks to our generous friends.  This is one of the reasons we always give away our first harvest.

Are you growing something this years that’s new to your garden?