Monday, August 29, 2016

This & That Projects; Out of Doors, Y'all: 5

The pictures sure don't show it very much, but the window trims on the outside of the house are done! And I did it without having to deal with any ladders on uneven ground and all that rot. The satisfaction of having completed these is disproportionately large to the visual impact. Satisfaction is enough!

North-ish side.

East-ish side.
It's going to be time to stain the siding again soon, too. Sigh.

The balcony door and trim are done as well! This is the first time that I have not had a bright door, except the black one I had once; I hope I like it as much as I think I do right now. Regardless, I'll hold off judgement until the screen doors are done. I do think this color will be a lovely backdrop for any wreaths, swags, or other decorations we may put up.

I am talking full advantage of this being on the second floor and having a screen to keep the door open for a few-to-several days and avoid any mishaps with the new finish pressing against the jamb.

The front door and door trim won't be done until some carpentry, beyond my meager abilities, is committed. Hopefully in September. Eric and I have discussed a way to alter the screen doors that came with the place to fit & work better, as well as function better for our lifestyle. However, that is a project that can be accomplished regardless of weather and will not likely be started until next spring.

Monday, August 22, 2016

This & That Projects; Out of Doors, Y'all: 4

Remember how I said that I was going to use the stormy weather as an excuse to focus on projects in the bathroom like refinishing the cabinets? Well, I did not work on refinishing the cabinets. In fact, all I did for the bathroom was make a few hand towels to go in there (photos, below).

Well, DAMNIT. I can not capture the green trim paint (Benjamin Moore Regal Select Exterior, HC-119 Kittery Point Green, low lustre finish) at a distance. I have tried a few different lighting conditions and just don't have the skills. But DAMNIT, I have spent some hot, dusty, uncomfortable hours working on this and I am going to post about it. (damnit)

All three windows on the front of the house are done! And the trim on the upstairs balcony door is done, too. I still have the door and screen door (if we keep it on) to do.
All three windows on the front of the house are done! I finished the balcony door trim, too. I still need to do the door and the screen door should we decide to keep it. All these will be Benjamin Moore Regal Select Exterior, HC-166 Kendall Charcoal, low-lustre finish. I think I have a new plan for both the screen doors that came with the house.

Instead, I mostly did stuff hat I don't much remember now that I'm trying to recount, but I kept busy. Then when the weather dried up I got the trim painted on for more windows!

Just two more to go! One second story window each on two sides of the house. I highlighted them in the photos above to help show the difference between the bright white vs. the new mossy green. I like to work on the upper story windows when Eric is home, so they'll wait until a weekend.

There's this window, too, but it's a mess. I mean, I get that sometimes you have to replace a window with a smaller one for one or more reasons and sometimes you don't do the finish work again for one or more reasons, but for crying out loud, at least install the new one level! And so it shuts properly! Anyway, we figure not doing anything is going to call the least attention to it, so we're just going to let it go for now. And now that I am looking at the photo I don't even think that opposing sides of that "opening" are the same length or even equally out of level or plumb. Sigh.


Above mentioned hand towels. I have some more prints and linen already cut for more hand towels and for dish towels, too.

These are cotton quilting prints on the front, linen on the back, with trims of various fiber content. They dry hands nicely, too.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Dr. Potter's Medicine Show

We're less than seven months from when Eric's first book comes out. YAHOO! We put together these calling cards for him to hand out at MidAmeriCon II, that's The 74th Worldcon, this weekend in Kansas City.

And he did. Plus did other author-y stuff. It is SO FUN to watch this unfold from up close!

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

One Step At A Time: The Bathroom Redo Edition. Volume 6A

So, it looks like I'll be moving my home improvement efforts indoors for a little bit.

Luckily*, I have a project or two to work on. I had started to sand down the vanity the week before we hosted Eric's team at work for a cookout - that quickly moved indoors when the lightning started and just before the gully washer downpour - and realized it was a messier and longer project than could be accomplished in time to host guests. So I put the doors back on the the drawers back in and focused on other pre-party tasks.

I'll also sand down this large storage cabinet and a small wall shelf that we took out of the laundry room right after we moved in.

I am considering adding some moulding details, but haven't come to a decision.

I'd already taken off the sweet little porcelain knobs when I remembered to get a before picture. There are holes indicating that this piece originally had doors. Given the cute finish details and the otherwise utilitarian look to the laundry room, I have to assume this piece started it's life somewhere else; maybe not even in this house. The other open shelf that was in there seems to have been made with the same materials as kitchen cabinets, so perhaps it was original to either the laundry room or the kitchen.

* Air-quotes are implied.

Monday, August 1, 2016

Whose Poop is This, Anyway?

Apparently some critter that gets on our deck railing has been training at the local Dairy Queen.

This squirrel scat is HUGE. (man fist for scale)

There are enough squirrels frequenting our bird (bear, chipmunk, and squirrel) feeders that it's hard to know exactly which one excreted this soft-serve turd, but it very well could have been this one.


Stealing/destroying all of our string lights and eating the bird seed is just the tip of the jerk iceberg with these jerk squirrels.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

This & That Projects; Out of Doors, Y'all: 3

A picnic table came with the property, but it's seen better days. The seats and table top were rotty, warped, and splintered in addition to peeling. The whole thing was painted with the same cheap barn-red bulk paint that is on the chicken coop and deck. And since it's coming of in chips and sheets, I can see that they didn't prime or seemingly otherwise prepare the wood. Of course, I didn't get specific before pictures, but here is a photo of the garbage I have collected in the "yard" over the last two-and-a-half summers (yeah... nice) sitting on the top and the boards from the seats after I took them off.

Note the lag screw overkill. So many more opportunities for moisture and rot! Woo.

Legs/trestle was in good-enough shape, just a color that doesn't work of us.

So, I sanded that down to bare wood & bought replacement 2 x 6 lumber for the table top and seat surfaces. And you know that means I got to bust out my Milwaukee 12" compound miter saw! And use a new angle! Thirty-one point six degrees*, baby!

I just used framing lumber, so there were a couple of twisty pieces and there's no disguising that I'm not an experienced woodworker, but DANG if it ain't about a thousand times better! Not splintery! Not creaky! Not pinching! Not "squishy"!

I couldn't wait until the last coat of stain was dry and it was moved into it's position near the corn hole pitch to get a shot, so here is the view from the shop doors.

I bought higher quality exterior wood stain - Benjamin Moore Arborcoat Semi-solid, 1571 - Imperial Gray. The idea was to coordinate with the new exterior window trim paint which coordinates with some of the lichen in our trees. Both colors are in the patio chair backs.

A redo of the top photo just for funsies. Note instead of lag screws, I used deck screws. Wait. Deck screws? Oh, that's right! You can't see them, because I used exterior wood glue to insert wood plugs over them. Do I know that this will work for wood furniture that stays outside all year? I sure don't! But I sure hope it does, because I like the result and it was fun to do.

I added a couple of brackets to the cross brace for added sturdiness. It's not better looking, but it is stronger and it is under the table.

Ahhhhh. I completed it and Eric helped me get it back into its spot before smoke season!

* Why is that a pre-set angle on my beloved compound miter saw? Me asking the question is another indication of my lack of experience and knowledge of woodworking.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Eulogy For A Good Dog

Everyone thinks they have the best dog. And none of them are wrong. 
~W.R. Purche 

Betty was the first puppy I ever lived with or "had." I was also relatively new to being a dog (step)mom, only having lived with Olive for a few months. Oh, my goodness what a good big sister Olive was to Betty who certainly must have tried her patience. I think it is not only the people who were worse off without Olive when we lost her just a few weeks after Betty's first birthday, but Betty would have benefited so, so much had she had more time learning how to be a dog from an expert dog like Olive.

The dogs required us to put Ella the Cat's food on the counter. Ella was getting older so we put a stool near the counter for her to use to get up there. Betty learned that she could also use the stool to get up there, so the stool moved away from the counter, but close enough Ella could jump. A few times we would walk into the kitchen to find Betty on her "shame stool"!
Betty was super snugly from the time we brought her home until she got sick this spring.

Betty may have been inexpert at certain aspects of dogging, but I sure learned a lot from her. I learned patience and persistence - the former because of her skill at the latter. She could tell you again and again and again and again that you should kick this pine cone or ball for her to chase, each time as though she hadn't just asked/demanded. Sometimes I could wait her out, often not. She was passionate about her hobbies!

Grandma gave the Beastie Grrrlz large Chuck-its for Christmas 2015. I thought maybe this would mean Betty's fetch sessions would only require 2 balls - one to carry and one to chase - but, nope... she could still carry two of the big ones!

I learned about the joy in repetition and in the little things. Every time a pine cone was kicked it was a thrill to block it or chase it or pounce on it. EVERY. TIME. Of course, the same goes for fetching balls. Betty was a ball chasing maestra and a pleasure to watch run after them. She was so fast on her long, muscular legs that people would ask if she was part greyhound when we lived in Portland and went to the dog park every day.


Betty learned to be a water dog at the Thousand Acres park at the Sandy River Delta.

Sometimes a stick isn't enough, but to a dog their people are good enough even when they're filthy from remodeling a kitchen.

When she and Delia decided they could not stand each other, I learned about loving someone so much and so hard that I had no choice but to accept a catastrophic flaw.


I re-learned to be ready for the fun and funny unexpected things. Betty did not howl or bay really. This is the only time we can remember her doing it and we were just lucky that I happened to be filming the play session when it happened.

I learned that a nap with a dog was one of the best naps one could nap. I relearned how it was nice to hold hands on car rides. I learned it is just as much fun to make costumes for dogs as it is for people, in fact maybe it is more fun.

Captain Betty. This post on got this project published in a Star Trek craft book - no doubt because of Betty's elegant good looks as the model.

So prim.

I never got a good photo of her in her completed hobo spider costume.

Luchadog! La Cazadora, The Huntress

I picked up this elf outfit for Betty at the after holiday clearance. I am glad I got a photo then.

I learned more about sharing and more about the joy in watching others that I love in the acts of
loving each other.

A snap Betty's Auntie Adrienne took of Betty with her cousin/best friend Wacho and her people-cousin, Kate playing in their yard.

Getting up in that hammock with Eric was her idea and she managed it all on her own.

I have so many photos of Betty throwing herself at guests, but can't seem to find most of them. :(

Fathers Day 2016 walk in the National Forest.

I have already known the sorrow and deep pain of loss from pets dying and now I am learning it again. I love Betty. I miss her.