Treasures of the Attic = Future Funds

Although we have but a meager basement since most of the house is over a crawl space, the attic spans the entire house.

We use the attic over the 3 rooms toward the bottom of the picture above.  It is accessed by steps in the laundry room.

We use the attic over the 3 rooms toward the bottom of the picture above. It is accessed by steps in the laundry room.

Thankfully less that half of the available attic has been floored and thus used for storage. (I’m sure if the entire attic were floored we’d have stored twice as much junk.)

In the area of the attic over the far right bedroom (Treetops Room).

The area of the attic over the far right bedroom (Treetops Room).

Recently while hunching through the attic to locate the foosball table and castle dollhouse I came upon another something (somethings) we’ve been hanging onto.

Our saddle bag has been store in the attic which is hot in summer and cold in winter.

Our saddle bag has been stored in the attic which is hot in summer and cold in winter.

I asked Charlie to drag down this large red satchel which we’ve been storing since I moved in 18 years ago.

Close-contact saddle.

Close-contact saddle.

This bag has protected our son’s boyhood saddle which is in lovely condition.

Child-size riding boots.

Child-size riding boots.

In addition to the saddle were a pair of almost new jodhpur boots, four pairs of riding breeches,  and  a boy-sized pair of chaps.

Saddle cover and pads

Saddle cover and pads

The saddle itself came with requisite pads, leathers, stirrups, girth, and saddle cover.

Hoof pick, crops -- everything was there.

Hoof pick, crops — everything was there.

I washed all the fabric items including the large bag.  I almost ruined a washing machine because the bag had been interlined with black foam which had deteriorated to a fine dust over the years. This fine black soot got on everything in the washer.

I washed the fleece saddle pad along with other items.

I washed the fleece saddle pad along with other items.

After a multiple washings and rinsings everything looks pretty much like new and I had the opportunity to clean the washer out with vinegar to remove any residue. (By the way it was not my washer so you can imagine my dismay when everything was covered with silt.)

I used a damp rag with saddle soap to clean the leather.

I used a damp rag with saddle soap to clean the leather.

Glycerin saddle soap

Glycerin saddle soap

I also cleaned the 16-inch Crosby Prix-des-Nations saddle inside and out with glycerin saddle soap.

Saddle soap creates a foam that cleans the leather which is then buffed with a soft cloth.

Saddle soap creates a foam that cleans the leather which is then buffed with a soft cloth.

After years of non-use the saddle leather became nice and supple.

Maybe I should use this as décor.

Maybe I should use this as décor a la Ralph Lauren. Just kidding.

I have a young friend with 3 riding children who might be interested in purchasing this treasure trove. I wanted you to see it first.

Next item we plan to dig out of the attic: 2 Ikea bookshelves.

Do you use your attic or basement for storage?

My Favorite Household Items

1. Ice maker

I enjoy having ice and water available on the front of the fridge.

I enjoy having ice and water available on the front of the fridge.

2. Laundry on the second floor

Our laundry room is on the second floor.

Our laundry room is on the second floor.

3. Espresso machine

4.  Sandwich grill – I love this grill which has been in my family since I was a little girl.  It’s officially dead.  I had been making a grilled sandwich and everytime I lowered or raised the lid a spray of sparks shot out. We took it to our handy friend who knows how to fix all manner of things and he pronouced it unfixable so I’m scouting another one.

Grill

5.  Hair straightening iron

I have a Sedu Revolution nano tourmaline ionic styling iron.

I have a Sedu Revolution nano tourmaline ionic styling iron.

6.  In-the-wall Ironing board – I love how easily it goes up and down, how it can be maneuvered to any angle, how sturdy and convenient it is.  It was expensive, yes, but really worth it.

Ironing Board – Down Position

7. Air conditioner

I'm content with a window air conditioner.

I’m content with a window air conditioner.

8. Power miter box

The miter saw comes in handy for all sorts of jobs.

The miter saw comes in handy for all sorts of jobs.

What’s your favorite?

Yes, Milady

We have a dollhouse that was made especially for my son when he was a little boy.

The dollhouse is in 3 sections which can be easily reassembled.

The dollhouse is in 3 4 sections which can be easily reassembled.

For the past 20 years we’ve been storing it in the attic.

The roofers cut our the rotten wood which casued all sorts of debris to fall into the attic on top of everything that is stored there.

The roofers cut out the rotten wood which caused all sorts of debris to fall into the attic on top of everything that is stored there.

When the men put a new roof on the house last year the attic became very dirty with debris from the roof.

The castle sits on a grassy base on which has been painted a watery mote.

The castle sits on a grassy base on which has been painted a watery mote.

So the castle, which had been shoved to the far corner, is grimy and dirty and broken.

The keep is a two-story structure with an A-line roof.

The keep is a two-story structure with an A-line roof.

I have officially rescued it and am going to get it back to the condition it was in its glory days when young boys played knights of the round table within and without its walls.

The public rooms of the castle look like barbarians have ransacked the place.

The throne room of the castle looks like barbarians have ransacked the place.

I had forgotten the details that we had worked on when the castle was new: flooring, wallcoverings, carpets, and furniture .

Even the drawbridge is off its hinge.

Even the drawbridge is off its hinge.

My plan is to display it in the conservatory after it is renovated. Do you find forgotten treasures in your attic?

Charlie’s July Garden

I wrote about our garden in the middle of June — one month later many things have changed. (Click on any photo to enlarge and see details.)

The radish bed is one 4' by 4' square.

Last month the radish bed was producing delicious radishes.

The bushy square second from the left is full of radishes going to seed.

The bushy square second from the left is full of radishes going to seed.

I pulled all the radishes in preparation for a fall crop.

I pulled all the radishes in preparation for a fall crop.

Charlie plans to plant Brussels sprouts this fall.

Last month the tomato plants were growing tall but no tomatoes.

Last month the tomato plants were growing tall but no tomatoes.

Tomatoes are growing in the bamboo tepee and in a metal cage next door amongst basil.

Tomatoes are growing in the bamboo tepee and in a metal cage next door amongst basil.

The SunGold tomatoes are beginning to ripen for daily picking.

The SunGold tomatoes are beginning to ripen for daily picking.

We pull suckers from the tomato plants early in the season so they fruit earlier.

Be sure to leave a space under the bottom supports to get the ball of string around so one continuous piece can be used.

Trellised cucumbers in June.

Cucumber trellis is July.

The cucumber trellis is July is flowering profusely and fruiting.

Last week the garden was overgrown with weeds in all of the aisles between the 4′ by 4′ squares.

Even the paths are covered with green.

Even the paths are covered with green.

Charlie did some diligent weeding to get the July garden ready for additional planting.

Charlie did some diligent weeding to get the July garden ready for additional planting.

The garden in July takes consistent care if it is to look good and continue to produce.

Thai basil with a mild anise flavor.

Thai basil with a mild anise flavor.

Sweet peppers

Sweet peppers

We have allowed one square to be taken over by volunteers including some sort of melon plant.

We have allowed one square to be taken over by volunteers including some sort of melon plant.

There are always surprises in the garden.

What would you use anise flavored Thai basil for?

The Dining Room is Coming Along

This is a view of the dining room in June of last year. As much as I’d like to say the dining room is finished I got sidetracked by a million other projects.

I started with an almost empty room.

I started with an almost empty room.

So in that year we’ve mostly used the dining room as a catchall for paint cans, tools, boxes of music, all sorts of clutter.

We had a party on New Year's Eve but the paneling was only half painted and the top of the walls were primed.

We had a party on New Year’s Eve but the paneling was only half painted and the top of the walls were primed.

We did use it for Christmas dinner and a New Year’s Eve party but the orderly appearance didn’t last long.

The wallpaper above the paneling has been removed and the walls primed.

The wallpaper above the paneling has been removed and the walls primed.

So far I’ve removed the blue wallpaper.

After removing the wallpaper the next step was to paint the crown molding.

After removing the wallpaper the next step was to paint the crown molding.

Then I painted the cornice molding.

Revere Pewter on the dining room ceiling accents the white cornice molding.

Revere Pewter on the dining room ceiling accents the white cornice molding.

Painted the ceiling with Revere Pewter.

I've begun to hang the wallpaper.

I’ve begun to hang the wallpaper. The ceiling and adjacent wall are painted Revere Pewter.

I ordered wallpaper to hang above the paneling.  It takes me a while to hang a whole room of wallpaper but I couldn’t wait to see how it would look so I hung a few pieces.

The whole dining room list looks like this:

  • Remud any holes, seams, or dips to make a smooth wall.
  • Wipe down the entire wall with vinegar and water to remove any residual wallpaper glue and to further smooth the plaster.
  • Paint the ceiling. We used Edgecomb Grey in the adjacent kitchen.  I’ll either use this in the dining room or go one shade darker to really make the cornice molding pop.
  • Finish installing the baseboard trim and trim up the door opening.
  • Prime and paint the paneling.
  • Paint the trim.
  • Paint or paper the wall above the paneling. (See my dining room Pinterest page for inspiration.)
  • Clean the floor. Then repolyurethane the new boards.
  • Buy a room-size rug.
  • Finish the cushions for the window seat one of which some mice have chewed.
  • Move the piano and table back into the dining room.
  • Hang blinds and curtains.
  • Move onto another room.

Would you say “almost there”?

How do you stay on track with your projects?

Notes from 101 in 1001– #89

In my list of 101 tasks to perform in 1001 days, number 89 is to get rid of 5 big items:

  • Kitchen cabinets
  • Old sewing machine and ironing board
  • Old books
  • Foosball table
  • Doll house.

The trouble is that I am ambivalent about some of the items. We’ve already given away part of the kitchen cabinets — the old, all-wood ones from our former kitchen.

Most of our old kitchen cabinets found a new home.

Most of our old kitchen cabinets found a new home.

Word has it that the recipient has made a good installation of them in his own home. That’s what we like to hear.

Clutter projects stored in the Cottage.

Clutter projects stored in the Cottage.

I also have my grandmother’s Singer sewing machine bought in the 1950s.  I need to check if it still works.  Last time I had it open (which was decades ago) it worked well. I have just seen Diane’s (In My Own Style) trick for hiding her similar sewing machine in plain sight.

My sewing machine is portable.

My sewing machine is portable.

I’m either going to find a place for this machine (I have my own machine) in our house or will donate it.  Since this is a well made industrial machine I will try to find a theatre costume shop that would like to have it. Win-win.

Boxes of old books from the attic

Boxes of old books from the attic

Every time I look up in the attic I see boxes of old books that I am just hanging onto for sentimental reasons.

I printed a photograph and drew on it to get a feel for the scale of the future master bedroom shelves.

Plans for the master bedroom bookshelves.

After we get our bedroom set up with bookshelves along one wall.  I’m going to revisit the books I want to keep and part with the others.  We have lots of children’s books that someone else might enjoy.  In the past I’ve had a book swap and maybe we’re due for another one.

Art photo of the foosball table in the attic.

Art photo of the foosball table in the attic.

We also have a foosball table in the attic.  It’s in pretty good condition since it hasn’t been used for ages.  We took it apart and put it in the attic.

Charlie vacuumed the foosball table and texted a photo to our pastor who will accept it as a donation to the youth program at church.

Charlie vacuumed the foosball table and texted a photo to our pastor who will accept it as a donation to the youth program at church.

This is another item I’d much rather donate that sell on Craigslist.  It might be fun for a community center or the teen social hall of a church.

The dollhouse is in 3 sections still in the back of the attic.

The dollhouse is in 3 sections still in the back of the attic.

And finally I have a dollhouse made for my son when he was a little boy.  It’s special because it’s a castle.  We used to fill it with knights in armor and tiny medieval furniture.  It’s ready for a paint job.

The crenellations need some repair.

The crenellations need some repair.

Maybe before I get rid of it I’ll display it for awhile even though it takes up quite a bit of room.  It’s really neat.

The attic is overdue for a major tidying.

The attic is overdue for a major tidying.

These five items would really be a good start to letting go of things that I just can’t keep.  At one point I was holding onto things to pass down to our grandchildren but since that seems very unlikely I just need to let go.

What do you need to let go of?

Saw Blade Sign – Midway in the Project

I have a Pinterest board called Jo’s Projects with 219 pins.  My featured pin is a painted saw blade by Zachary Smith.

Old saw blade before being cleaned.

Old saw blade before being cleaned.

I decided to try my hand at a similar painted saw blade. I prepared the used blade here.

The proprietor of the rope belt factory.

The proprietor of the rope belt factory.

This blade is slated for our carpenter friend who always jokes (in a deadpan way) about his rope belt factory.

My design for "Bespoke Rope Belts"

My design for “Bespoke Rope Belts”

I made a full-size design on paper and then transferred it to the blade with carbon paper.

Silver Sharpies detail the blade with a pale but visible mark.

Silver Sharpies detail the blade with a pale but visible mark.

It left a clear outline on the saw blade which I enhanced with silver Sharpie.

Oil-based liquid white.

Oil-based liquid white.

Then with a small can of Bob Ross’ “liquid white” and a skinny brush I painted over the letters. Since I couldn’t finish at that time I picked up the blade and smeared the paint.

The liquid white goes on easily but also smudges.

The liquid white goes on easily but also smudges.

Sheesh! The lettering was pretty much ruined so I wiped it all off and cleaned the blade again with finger nail polish remover.

After the paint sets up I'll give it a second and may third coat.

After the paint sets up I’ll give it a second and may third coat.

The next day I started again.

SawBlade

I’m not sure how long the liquid white takes to dry but it definitely needs a couple more coats and some detailing.  Maybe, as I practice, I’ll get steadier.

Do you have a summer project? Or are you taking a trip?