Rain and More Rain

I know April is supposed to be a rainy month — April showers and all — but I have projects to do. Outside.

I need the left section of fence to finish off the potage entrance.
I need the left section of fence to finish off the potage entrance.

I started painting the last piece of iron fence that goes at the front of the potager .

We started refurbishing the last piece of iron fence for the potager.
We started refurbishing the last piece of iron fence for the potager.

It needs at least another coat of navy spray paint.

A good base coat of Rustoleum's Rust Inhibitor (matte black) covered with navy blue enamel.
A good base coat of Rustoleum’s Rust Inhibitor (matte black) covered with navy blue enamel.

I reserve spray painting for outside.

We used an old piece of rebar cut into 2-foot lengths to support the fence.
We used an old piece of rebar cut into 2-foot lengths to support the fence.

Charlie needs to find the rebar that we had specially cut to secure this fence.  It must be around someplace.  I hope.

The iris blades are growing fast near the fence.
The iris blades are growing fast near the fence.

The irises are starting to break through the ground so I’d like to get this fence in place as soon as possible.

Purple iris flank the iron gate to the potager in May. (2015)
Purple iris flank the iron gate to the potager in May. (2015)

Won’t be long now until it looks like this again.

We're due for a bumper crop of lilacs this year.
We’re due for a bumper crop of lilacs this year.

Looking forward to lilacs this year also.

What’s growing in your garden?

Sweet ’16: The First Quarter

After making long to-do lists last year I decided to keep this year simple with just a few goals each month.

We upgraded our mailbox.
We upgraded our mailbox.

Nevertheless not everything was completed in the allotted time.  Looking back over the last three months not much was ultimately accomplished.

We started refurbishing the last piece of iron fence for the potager.
We started refurbishing the last piece of iron fence for the potager.
  1. Shower glass. 

    The shower glass in the master bathroom goes from wall to wall.
    The shower glass in the master bathroom goes from wall to wall.
  2.  Finish vanities. Both vanities, conservatory and master bathrooms, are installed but remain unfinished.
    The conservatory vanity will be faced with more old wood and a shelf built on the bottom area.
    The conservatory vanity will be faced with more old wood and a shelf built on the bottom area.

    We are waiting for the master sinks to be installed.
    We are waiting for the master sinks to be installed.
  3.  Hang bathroom lighting fixtures. Hanging the fixtures happens after the sinks are installed.

    Can't wait to hang this lighting fixture (times 2) in the master bathroom.
    Can’t wait to hang this lighting fixture (times 2) in the master bathroom.

February:

  1. Lay new wood flooring. Haven’t looked at flooring yet.
  2. Sand and polyurethane new flooring. See #1.
  3. Install thresholds. All part of the flooring project.

 March:

  1. Paint shutters. Charlie has begun the scraping process.

    Scraping has started on the 10 pairs of shutter we need for the house.
    Scraping has started on the 10 pairs of shutter we need for the house.
  2. Install interior trim. We need to purchase more trim and won’t schedule the delivery until we have a comprehensive list.

    Our carpenter has been bugging me to get this done so he can install.
    Our carpenter has been bugging me to get this done so he can install.
  3. Fill holes and sand. A tedious job which Charlie may tackle when everything is installed.
  4. Paint interior trim. My job . . . in a holding pattern until nicer weather then look out!

So did we accomplish anything in the first quarter of 2016?

Parties, parties, parties.

Tea party times 2.
Tea party times 2.

Rearranging décor items. Mantel, kitchen, dining room.

The bunnies and ducks are put away but the teal eggs remain for a while longer.
The bunnies and ducks are put away but the teal eggs remain for a while longer.

And I made some decisions on upcoming trips.

Close to home or across the country, we're planning more adventures.
Close to home or across the country, we’re planning more adventures.

We’re still planning to get these things finished but we’re not letting it get in the way of family and friends.

Remember when the living room looked like this -- for months?
Remember when the living room looked like this — for months?

We had 2 (at least) hard years of renovation when we were fairly isolated due to the chaos.

The living room from approximately the same viewpoint as above.
The living room from approximately the same viewpoint as above.

Now projects will need to fit into our lifestyle instead of vice versa.

What’s you next party? Theme? How many?

Goings On

First I’d like to respond to a comment from Hidden Hoarder about the solar frog on our side porch.

The frog needs absolute darkness in order to see its internal light.
The frog needs absolute darkness in order to see its internal light.
SolarFrog
The frog needs absolute darkness in order to see its internal light.

I wasn’t sure I could take a reasonable photo of it lit up in the dark.  But there it is.

We own a good variety of games.
We own a good variety of games.

I also started thinking about Game Night.  The antique wash stand in the living room is full of games.

There are even a couple of hand-cut puzzles in the game cupboard.
There are even a couple of hand-cut puzzles in the game cupboard.

I wanted to decide which games we would try to play on our first Game Night in a long time.

This is a fairly innocent game that gets people talking and reveals some unexpected information.
This is a fairly innocent game that gets people talking and reveals some unexpected information.

I narrowed it down to an ice breaker, Boxers and Briefs, and one of two other games.

Hoopla is a game in which everybody playing cooperates to finish the game.
Hoopla is a game in which everybody playing cooperates to finish the game.

We’re shooting for about a dozen people, more than that and we’ll play Hoopla, fewer, Team Trivial Pursuit. My first choice would be Trivial Pursuit.

We've been storing the shutters in the shed.
We’ve been storing the shutters in the shed — the ones in view are only about half the number we have.

Finally, we have a huge pile of exterior shutters that need to be painted.

Charlie prefers the triangle-shaped scraper.
Charlie prefers the triangle-shaped scraper.

Charlie began scraping the old paint this afternoon.

Charlie thought he was finished with this shutter until he looked at the groove full of chippy paint.
Charlie thought he was finished with this shutter until he looked at the groove full of chippy paint.

He estimates 20 minutes per side for scraping.  Then they need to be primed, painted and rehung.

Shutters are difficult to paint with a brush so I plan to use my paint sprayer.
Shutters are difficult to paint with a brush so I plan to use my paint sprayer.

This project might take a while, years even.

What’s going on at your place?

Golden Duckies

I’ve been working on the ceramic ducks and bunnies I found here.

5 little ducklings and 3 pearlized bunnies
5 little ducklings and 3 pearlized bunnies
The easy part of the project although at one point they all fell on the floor.
The easy part of the project although at one point they all fell on the floor.

First I spray painted them satin white.

I was sure I could draw scallops on my little ducks.
I was sure I could draw scallops on my little ducks like on this Herend figurine.

Then I pulled up an inspiration photo from the internet.

Sharpie on porcelain is very slippery -- perhaps a lighter color would have been better.
Sharpie on porcelain is very slippery — perhaps a lighter color would have been better.

I tried to use a Sharpie to imitate the pattern on a Herend figurine but I could not be very precise and it looked pretty horrible. As you can see I should have at least looked more closely at the original — I got the pattern inside each scallop upside down.

Even dotting the eye was tricky.
Even dotting the eye was tricky.

So I decided to just put a dot in the eye like the inspiration.

The gold paint pen worked well.
The gold paint pen worked well.

What did work however was a gold paint pen.

I'll respray the little blue failure and have a bevy of white and gold ducks. Next year they might be a totally different color altogether.
I’ll respray the little blue failure and have a bevy of white and gold ducks. Next year they might be a totally different color altogether.

I gave the tail, the feet, the wings, and the bill a shot of gold.

Everyone is a different color combination.
Everyone is a different color combination.
These newly painted white and gold duckies look improved to me.
These newly painted white and gold duckies look improved to me.

Have you wasted time this week on something ridiculous?

Back to Trim Painting

Weather-wise this has been a beautiful week.

This was the first round of trim painting in May, 2015.
This was the first round of trim painting in May, 2015.

Today is supposed to be in the 60s and partly cloudy which suits me perfectly because I’m going to drag out the paint sprayer and paint more uninstalled trim.

I don't want to forget the snap-on grilles that came with the windows.
I don’t want to forget the snap-on grilles that came with the windows.

Number 1 on the list is the face trim and jambs for the round shower windows.

Both new bathrooms have this round window which is inside the shower area.
Both new bathrooms have this round window which is inside the shower area.

Parts of the jamb must be painted with a brush.  I’ve been soaking my good brushes in brush cleaner and took a little time to get them back into shape earlier in the week.

The plan is to paint all this trim white to get it ready for the baseboard in the house.
The plan is to paint all this trim white to get it ready for the baseboard in the house.

The second pile of items is the baseboard trim piled in the Cottage. I’m determined to get the Cottage back in shape so we must use up the building materials we’ve been storing there for the past few years. I feel a Craigslist post coming on.

The first round of spray painting has left a few nooks and crannies uncovered.
The first round of spray painting has left a few nooks and crannies uncovered.

Finally I want to finish painting these little darlings so I can decorate them a la Sharpie shells or Herend porcelain figurines.

This Herend duck will be my inspiration.
This Herend duck will be my inspiration.

They’re not at all valuable so if I fail it will be no great loss.

The paint gun has a lot of small parts in addition to the necessary long air hose and compressor.
The paint gun has a lot of small parts in addition to the necessary long air hose and compressor.

I pulled together the paint and sprayer yesterday so I wouldn’t spend half the day looking for equipment like I did here.

Do you have a spring road trip planned?

Trying a New Spray Paint Color

Finally we have a couple of days above 50 degrees so I can spray paint a small project outside.

Silver on the left, Satin Nickel on the right.
Silver on the left, Satin Nickel on the right.

In the past when I wanted to create a kind of mercury glass effect with spray paint I used Valspar’s bright silver spayed quickly over wet hammered bronze.

Detail of a painted ceramic tree with a mercury glass appearance.
Detail of a painted ceramic tree with a mercury glass appearance.

It wasn’t difficult and I liked it.

The lid of the chrome paint can is shiny silver.
The lid of the chrome paint can is shiny silver.

I went to Lowe’s to pick up some more bright silver and alas there was none.  So I stopped into Home Depot and bought one can each of Rustoleum silver and chrome.

Notice the "lace" edge of this vintage metal wastebasket with a weighted bottom.
Notice the “lace” edge of this vintage metal wastebasket with a weighted bottom.

My plan was to paint this old wastebasket I found in the attic to (sort of) match the chrome fixtures in the master bathroom.

Mirrored vanity tray
Mirrored vanity tray

I like the old can because the top of it echoes the frame on this mirrored tray which I also plan to use in the master bathroom. (I’ll probably have to paint it also.)

Working quickly spray hammered bronze on the surface followed immediately by chrome.
Working quickly spray hammered bronze on the surface followed immediately by chrome.

I sprayed it with hammered bronze and while it was still wet I over-sprayed with both the silver and the chrome.

I like the mottled look of this shiny finish.
I like the mottled look of this shiny finish.

The hammered paint causes the other paint to separate and darken in places.

A drip is visible on the front of the can.
A drip is visible on the front of the can which could have been avoided.

If I do another project with this technique I’ll try to paint on a horizontal surface rather than a vertical one since the paint tends to run.

This was a fast and inexpensive project.
This was a fast and inexpensive project.

The finish looks good in the master bathroom.

The wastecan is stashed between the shower glass and vanity.
The wastecan is stashed between the shower glass and vanity.

It’s glitzy and fits perfectly in this niche between the shower and vanity.

Before and After
Before and After

Sidebar: I decided against a galvanized finish for this bathroom because of the chrome fixtures.  The more rustic conservatory bathroom might get a galvanized-finish can.

Are you full on shiny chrome or the more subtle satin finish? (I like both.)

Dumb Bunnies and Ugly Ducks

When I took our Easter decorations out of storage this year I found some old ceramic ducklings and bunnies that had been lovingly hand painted.

5 little ducklings and 3 pearlized bunnies
5 little ducklings and 3 pearlized bunnies

I tried to sell the whole lot on Craigslist but no takers.

Get a load of the dramatic eyes.
Get a load of the dramatic eyes.

Since I really didn’t care for these oddly painted creatures I decided to .  .  .

Everyone is a different color combination.
Everyone is a different color combination.

Wait for it .  .  .

I think the inside of the ears was pinked with nail polish. Hmmm.
I think the inside of the ears was pinked with nail polish. Hmmm.

Paint them. Surprise, huh?

These shells were decorated with a Sharpie. I love them.
These shells were decorated with a Sharpie. I love them.

I don’t want to take a lot of time with this project so I let the photo above be an inspiration.

White Spray Paints
I’ll have to spray everything down with white paint first.

This weekend might have an hour or so that’s warm enough to get the spray painting finished.  Then I can Sharpie whilst I watch television. I hope I can get this finished before Easter which is at the end of March this year.

What are you doing with your wacky stuff?