Is Someone Pulling My Leg?

I’m a natural-born skeptic.  I question all premises that seem too good to be true.

I was backing up and the truck came around the corner from behind the hedge.

I was backing out of my parking space at work when the farm truck came around the blind corner.

This was not a small dent.

Blam!

A friend was going to put this up on a lift to see if the dent could be popped out easily.

I had another repair for the list. I wasn’t worried about it because 1.) my friend said she could fix it and 2.) if she couldn’t it was covered under insurance at work.

On Tuesday.
On Thursday.

Two days later the dent was gone.  Other remnants of the incident like scrapes on the bumper remain but the volleyball-size indentation was no longer there.

The car has not been out of my possession and I didn’t have it fixed. How did that happen?

House To-Do List – 2017

I used to organize the house to-do list in one long list that I added to as I thought of something new.  Here’s the updated room by room view at the end of 2015.  Lots done in the ensuing year.

The living room in 2017.

Living Room

Living room in 2017.
Dining room

Dining Room

Dining room
  • Clean paneling
  • Paint paneling

    The paneling on the back and side walls still needs another coat of paint.
    The paneling on the back and side walls still needs another coat of paint.
  • Paper top of walls
  • Clean floors
  • Paint chairs
  • Get a rug
  • Finish cushions

    The cushions are in place on the window seat but still unfinished.
    The cushions are in place on the window seat but still unfinished.
  • Move piano
  • Paint trim
Caffe bar kitchen peninsula
Caffe bar kitchen peninsula

Kitchen

The kitchen
The kitchen
Coffee bar in the kitchen

Pantry

  • Add shelves
  • Add counter

    Counter in the pantry
    Counter in the pantry
  • Add cabinets
  • Paint wall and ceiling
  • Hang lighting fixture
  • Organize pantry food and tools
A new floor was installed last year in the conservatory.

Conservatory

The floor has made a big difference.
  • Paint floor or lay flooring
  • Lay rug
  • Hang drywall
  • Mud walls
  • Paint walls
  • Move furniture
    • Love seats
    • Bistro set
    • Oak dresser
  • Get TV
  • Move file safe into closet
  • Drywall window
  • Mud closet
  • Paint closet
  • Get doors for closet and bathroom
    Doors in the conservatory.


    Conservatory bathroom

Conservatory bathroom is tiled.
Conservatory bathroom is tiled.
Shower glass in the conservatory bathroom.
  • Choose tile
    ConservatoryBathroomTile
    Conservatory floor tile — white on white basketweave.

    Bookshelves in the bathroom
  • Choose fixtures
  • Choose sink 
    Ikea sink and faucet in the conservatory bathroom.
    Ikea sink and faucet in the conservatory bathroom.

    Conservatory vanity
  • Get shower installed

    The shower is installed.
    The shower is installed.
Our powder room is currently styled the bibliotheque but is in for a continental change.
Our powder room is currently styled the bibliotheque but is in for a continental change.

Powder room

  • Remove wallpaper
  • Add paneling at bottom of wall
  • Paper top of wall

    Anthropologie wallpaper would lighten the space.
    Anthropologie wallpaper would lighten the space.
  • Paint lighting fixtures
  • Rehang towel bar
  • Fix hole in wall
The stairs and landing to the powder room.
The stairs and landing to the powder room.

Stairs

Upstairs hall
Upstairs hall

Hallway

  • Repair wall where door was removed
  • Paint wall
  • Hang gallery

    If these photos could only hang themselves up.
    If these photos could only hang themselves up.
After the renovation we should be able to free up some room in the laundry.
After the renovation we should be able to free up some room in the laundry.

Laundry Room

La buanderie means either laundry room or utility room in a house

  • Finish floor
  • Hang closet door
  • Add hanging pole to closet
  • Add baseboard trim
  • Add chair rail trim
  • Paint and install inside shutters
  • Paint and install old kitchen cabinet above dryer
Master bathroom.
Master bathroom.

Master Bathroom

Master Bathroom

Master bedroom

Master Bedroom

Master bedroom
  • Tear out closets
  • Erect bookshelves

    Shelves to be finished.
  • Patch holes
  • Paint ceiling
  • Paint walls

    Blue master bedroom
    Blue master bedroom
  • Paint trim
  • Lay rug
  • Make bed rustic
  • Refinish tall dresser
French doors open from a private second-floor terrace into the master bedroom.
French doors open from a private second-floor terrace into the master bedroom.
The master bedroom French doors lead to a private deck.
The master bedroom French doors lead to a private deck.

Master Deck

  • Rug
  • Paint vintage garden furniture

    The furniture is painted and in place on the master deck.
    The furniture is painted and in place on the master deck.
  • Have railing built
  • Have deck surface finished
A tiny but useful room: The Diva Room
A tiny but useful room: The Diva Room

Diva Room

  • Paint trim
  • Add shutters or curtains
  • Clear out boxes
  • Refit closet after ductwork
The Treetops Room viewed from the doorway.
The Treetops Room viewed from the doorway.

Treetops Room

  • Clear out boxes
  • Wash windows
  • Move large painting to living room
  • Reorient bed
  • Paint lamp and refinish shade
  • Paint door
Front painted Sandy Hook Gray.
Front painted Sandy Hook Gray.

Front entrance

  • Choose outdoor lights/sconces
  • Choose blue stone or paving
  • Make planters
  • Add landscaping
  • Paint door
  • Door mat
The westside porch.
The westside porch.

Side entrance

  • Choose outdoor lights/sconces
  • Choose bluestone or paving
  • Make planter for front edge
  • Make wood box
  • Bench or chair
  • Door mat
The back stairs to the conservatory.
The back stairs to the conservatory.

Back entrance

The planters are at the entrance to the potager on either side of the iron gate.
The planters are at the entrance to the potager on either side of the iron gate.

Garden

  • Make a plan for foundation plants
  • Plant grass
The shed is both charming and useful.
The shed is both charming and useful.

Wee Little House

  • Organize tools
  • Paint shutters
  • Clear work bench
  • Organize garden items
The Cottage has come in handy for guests and as a temporary home for our son's friends.
The Cottage has a permanent tenant.

Glade Cottage

Glade Cottage in Spring
  • Clear up unfinished projects
  • Move paint to house
  • New water heater
  • Install kitchen sink 

    Cottage kitchen
  • Move tools to shed
  • Move and repair drafting table
  • Clean up old lumber and flooring
  • Vacuum well
  • Dust and wipe clean
  • Rent

Exterior

  • Paint shingles
  • Paint and install shutters
  • Paint trim
  • Hang gutters and downspouts
    New downspouts accentuate the corners of the house.
    New downspouts accentuate the corners of the house.

    We’ll be adding and crossing off as time progresses.

The longest night is over for another year. Did you survive?

February, 2017: Keep Stairing

Although it seems like we accomplished little last month when I checked back some things did get done.

Our security lights are now well-positioned.
Our security lights are now well-positioned.

The first item checked off the list was to reset the security light that shines on the driveway.  Now when anything or anybody moves in the area to the west of the house 2 bright lights come on for 5 minutes.  It has made a wonderful difference to coming home after dark.

The little shelf is meant to be decorative as opposed to functional.
The little shelf is meant to be decorative as opposed to functional.

I also hung a glass shelf on the wall behind the toilet in the master bathroom.  I’m not sure if it is as solidly hung as it should be but it hasn’t fallen yet.

The usually pink blossoms are white.
Blossoming quince.

I forced some quince branches to blossom early to give us some spring color in the living room.

Rattan bench for the conservatory.
Rattan bench for the conservatory.

There was also some rearranging of furniture when I bought a rattan bench for the conservatory and sold my drafting table on Craigslist.

This chair is sturdy and comfortable.
Grey wicker chair.

And I bought a new chair, some pillows, and a tray at my favorite model home furniture resale store.

At last the runner is finished.
At last the runner is finished.

The most time consuming project in February was sewing and installing a runner for the steps that go from the first to the second floor.

Charlie posed with the statue of George M. Cohan in Times Square, aka Father Duffy Square.
Charlie posed with the statue of George M. Cohan in Times Square, aka Father Duffy Square.

At the end of the month we hurried up with a 3-day road trip to New York City and a quick paint project.

The exterior stairs and porch to the conservatory have been cleaned and painted.
The exterior stairs and porch to the conservatory have been cleaned and painted.

That’s at least 9 items that kept us busy.  Looking back over the list it seems our focus was on staircases.

Looking back what have you accomplished?

The Stair Runner is a Doner

The stairs from our first floor to the second floor are very narrow.

Our narrow stairs.
Our narrow stairs.

I couldn’t find a long runner narrow enough to use on the steps so I bought 10 small rugs from Ikea. I’ve been working on this project for about 2 years.

The rug was easy to cut with Fiskars Easy Action Bent Scissors.
The rug was easy to cut with Fiskars Easy Action Bent Scissors.

I cut the fringe off by cutting at right angles to the stripes.  Look ahead of the scissors’ blades and make long cuts.

Then I sewed them together with a flat-felled seam. My plan was to use my grandmother’s sewing machine but ended up using my own.  I couldn’t adjust the tension correctly on the older machine.

Traditional 5/8" seam to start.
Traditional 5/8″ seam to start.

To flat-fell a seam you sew a traditional seam right side together.

Cut away one seam allowance.
Cut away one seam allowance.

Then trim the one of the seam allowances to about 1/4 inch.

The stitching is a bit uneven because the fabric was so think.
The stitching is a bit uneven because the fabric was so thick.

Pull the seam flat and topstitch catching the short allowance inside the longer one. If you choose, you can topstitch again about 1/4-inch from the first topstitching.

The runner was loosely laid on the steps at first.
The runner was loosely laid on the steps at first.

Finally, with my new pneumatic stapler I started at top of the steps and just put staples in the middle all the way down the staircase.

The runner is strategically stapled to the stairs with 1-inch long staples.
The runner is strategically stapled to the stairs with 1-inch long staples.

After I was sure one of the seams didn’t land in the middle of a tread I added more staples on all the steps in the black area of the runner.

Tacked all the way up.
Tacked all the way up.

I’m hoping this wears well.

Looking from the landing at the top of the stairs.
Looking from the landing at the top of the stairs.

I might have to add a few more staples from time to time.

Check off #5 of my 101 in 1001.

Have you sewn something together recently?

Offsite – Day 6 and the Finale

Our offsite project (Day 2 is here, Days 3, 4, 5 are here.) is finally finished.

Before
Before
Painted, carpeted, and furnished.
Painted, carpeted, and furnished.

There will be a postlude but for now we are finished.

Even the door got a new coat of paint.
Even the door got a new coat of paint.
Charlie sealed the seams with caulk.
Charlie sealed the seams with caulk.

We painted the walls and woodwork.

The room's occupant preferred wall-to-wall carpet.
The room’s occupant preferred wall-to-wall carpet.

We changed out the old carpet.

We rearranged some of the furniture -- this chair used to be across the room.
We rearranged some of the furniture — this chair used to be across the room.

We pared down the contents of the living room including removing a lot of chains.

Chains
Chains
More chains
More chains

There were chains holding a hanging lamp, chains holding a glass globe filled with fake flowers, and chains connecting some wall decoration.

The rattan chair was brought in from the porch.
The rattan chair was brought in from the porch.

We’ve been set free from the chains.

The vintage sofa
The vintage sofa
The new pale blue Ektorp sofa from Ikea
The new pale blue Ektorp sofa from Ikea

We replaced the vintage sofa with a new pale blue one from Ikea.  The old sofa had a matching chair which we had hauled away with the old sofa.

Before the renovation.
Before the renovation.
The wall behind the sofa needs some art work but I think the resident might return the mirror to this space.
The wall behind the sofa needs some art work but I think the resident might return the mirror to this space.

The work team is happy that the room has been lightened and simplified.  The resident is delighted with her newly freshened living room.

The new double curtains rods have been ordered from Home Depot.
The new double curtains rods have been ordered from Home Depot.

The only items remaining on the to-do list are rehanging the curtains on new rods and returning the artwork to the walls which we will do when the resident has all the pieces together and gives us a call.

Is there a piece of furniture in your house you would like to get rid of but can’t bring yourself to do so?

Offsite – Days 3, 4, and 5

Our offsite project (Day 2 is here) is in full swing but the resident of the room decided my choices were not her choices.

Tentative plan.
A review of my suggestions.

On Day 3 Charlie and my friend pulled up the remaining wall-to-wall carpet and tack strips in the living room.

The edges of the floor were is very good shape with stains the area that would have been covered by an area rug.
The edges of the floor were is very good shape. The stained area would have been covered by an area rug.

The original plan was to clean, wax, and buff the entire floor then to lay an area rug. Unfortunately the room resident had her heart set on wall-to-wall carpet. (I write that with a scowl on my face.)

The selected color, "Oyster," is the uppermost swatch on the right.
The selected color, “Oyster,” is the uppermost swatch on the right.

Instead, on Day 4, my friend and I along with the room’s resident met with a representative from Empire Today who presented us with wall-to-wall carpet selections. The first choice mentioned by the resident was “mauve” which apparently is no longer in anyone’s color palette.

"Oyster"
“Oyster”

After choosing the color “Oyster” from the “Making Waves” collection we asked for installation the next day. The carpet was laid wall-to-wall in the living room, up the stairs to the second floor, and in the second floor hall.

Before
Before
After -- Much simpler now.
After — Much simpler now.

When my friend and I arrived late in the day the carpet was finished and gave the room a calming look in contrast to the original variegated, sculpted carpet.

The stairs to the second floor -- BEFORE.
The stairs to the second floor — BEFORE.
The stairs are safer now that the carpet is fitted.
The stairs are safer now that the carpet is fitted.

Stay tuned for Day 6 and the Finale.

Do you decorate with your favorite color?

Project Completions from 2016

I always have lists of projects both written and stored in my brain. (101 in 1001, Clean Sweep, Master List.)

The Cottage interior last June.
The Cottage interior last June.

Every so often we actually finish something. Sometimes it’s something we didn’t even hope to accomplish.

The brown sewing machine in the foreground belongs to me and will eventually come back in my house.
The Cottage sees regular improvements now.

The biggest change last year was The Cottage.  It went from a storage bin to permanent living quarters. We had hoped to sort it out but never expected to make such progress.

The shower glass provides a lot of reflection in the master bathroom.
The shower glass provides a lot of reflection in the master bathroom.

Early in the year we had shower glass installed in both the master bathroom and the conservatory bathroom.

Shower glass in the conservatory bathroom.
Shower glass in the conservatory bathroom.

Both showers are curbless.

We upgraded our mailbox.
We upgraded our mailbox.

We also switched out our rural mailbox with a totally upgraded version that was a gift from my sister.

All the floors are installed.
All the floors are installed.

While we were on a trip to the Grand Canyon, our son oversaw the installation of red oak floors in the last two unfloored sections of the house: the master suite hallway and the conservatory.

The rustic vanity.
The rustic vanity.

Charlie and I actually worked together to finish the rustic vanity in the conservatory bathroom.

We also made shelves in the conservatory bathroom.
We also made shelves in the conservatory bathroom.

We even built rustic shelves to cover an access alcove behind the shower. We were on a roll.

The conservatory bathroom door was painted "Secret" by Benjamin Moore.
The conservatory bathroom door was painted “Secret” by Benjamin Moore.

My last project of the year was to paint the interior doors grey. (Door 1, Door 2, Doors 3 and 4.) I painted them solo and am very happy with the change.

What’s your number one project planned for 2017?