Tuesday, October 11, 2016

A Little Autumn Decoration

I've already painted the moulding and trim that will be replaced, so hopefully in the next week or so the front door update will be done! 

As mentioned previously, we're working on the exterior trim and doors. Mostly that's just painting, but in the case of the front door that means hiring Renaissance Handyman Nick to raise it up so its swing will leave enough clearance over the floor to finally put down a door mat. I was able to get the door itself primed and painted, but am waiting until after all the ruckus before doing the trim and moulding for the most part.

I also added this little wreath hanger! It is actually a small cabinet knob* from a big box store that matches the finish on our lock sets. There was already a hole in the wood door from some other thing at some other time by some other people and it took me awhile to get around to liking the idea of a wreath or other decoration hanging over the diamond-shaped windows, but once the dark, warm grey paint was on there all I could think about was getting something colorful up there to help it all make sense. I must've been inspired by the recent deluge of orange-y pine needles on the ground and the colorful leaves on the deciduous plants and trees around.

I had picked up these wood and foil leaves awhile back, so grabbed a few other supplies on sale and with coupons and whipped up this little autumn wreath last week for a total of $13.47! It gives me a little bit of cheer every time I walk in the front door or spot it from the yard.

* to make the cabinet knob work on our door without having to drill all the way through the door just to have a screw head visible on the inside, I picked up the appropriate sized hanger bolts at the same big box store. Of course, I had to buy package of 8, so now I'm keeping my eyes peeled for other nifty cabinet knobs and pulls to use on other things.

Saturday, October 8, 2016

COMING SOON: Long Winter's Naps

Lately, I've been trying to finish up a few projects and "winterize" our house and lifestyle. These things are all boring tasks like cleaning the curtains in the living and dining rooms while I can still hang them on the line, putting away the deck rug and chairs, finishing up just a few home-improvement projects on my own or with Renaissance Handyman Nick who is keeping quite busy aside from our projects, and getting our firewood deliveries lined up.

Delia is sporting her leafy, orange-y Collar Cozy for that autumn vibe. She gets her ability to be flattered by orange from her papa.

Wood stove season is upon us and Delia is digging it! I have always made the dogs' beds, but she likes propping her chin up and burrowing in whether she's on the sofa, in her kennel, or by the stove, so I have been keeping my eye out for a color-coordinated and budget-friendly dog bed, the kind with a... uh... bumper?, for her. Costco finally came through!

Look how cozy! And so plush and soft! No thank you.

The thing is, she wasn't interested AT ALL. She even chose the sofa in the living room over her usual next-to-the-stove spot when I replaced the other cushion with her luxurious new bed! So I grabbed her favorite blanket to help make the new bed smell familiar. The LAST thing I want is this dingy* and hole-y blankie in my still-new-feeling kitchen, but... she's our sweet, baby girl and we'll do this to help her adjust... to luxury. 

I think it's working!

* Her blankie has been recently laundered, but it's a dog blanket and will just never again look like it's not a dog blanket. Dog people will know what this means.

Monday, September 12, 2016

What I Did on My Summer Vacation by Delia Fields Fischl

Please welcome a special guest to Suddenly Surrounded by Taxidermy, Delia Fields Fischl! 
As dictated to and translated by her Mama.

This summer I spent a lot of time keeping watch over the squirrels and the chipmunks at my house.

Because everyone needs an arch nemesis.

They would hide in Mama's the wood shed.

They would get up under Mama's pickup, Bert.

Sometimes I would spot them from across the yard and stalk them.

But sometimes I didn't even have to go into the yard! This tree is one of their favorites. I could watch it from the deck...

... and I could watch \ it from the ground while Papa and Mama watched me from the deck!

Papa and Mama could also watch me from the deck when I focused my surveillance on the underside of these old planters that they have let go to pot. As it were.

They would also get into the greenhouse at the back of the shop.

Another thing I did was learn to drink out of the faucet on the well head. I used to be very scared of it, but now I make sure that I get to have drinks from it during every morning fetch session! Sometimes I drink from it four times! My parents say that when winter comes I won't be able to drink from it, because it will make a dangerous ice slick on the fetch pitch. That's OK, because I don't get as thirsty during fetch when it's cold out, especially if I can eat snow which I love to do.

 Then on Labor Day I had my fifth birthday! Mama made me two batches of delicious treats with some yummy fresh vegetables, oats, and peanut butter! On Tuesday, Papa took a bunch to his office to share with the other dogs whose parents work there, too.

Squirrels and trees and Ds! Because my name starts with D and I act like I might like to eat a squirrel. Sticks come from trees and I like to chew on those, too! Mama made a video of my parents singing the birthday song to me before feeding me this, but for some reason the Linux laptop is not talking to the Android phone lately and it's too big to email. GAH! MAMA!

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Whose Poop is This, Anyway?

So this isn't poop, but it does appear that a spider or caterpillar had sudden, explosive diarrhea of the silk spinnerets!

It's difficult to see, but along the left side is a single strand floating about with a smaller blob on its end.

I was out performing my part of fetch with Delia, and saw something white a fluttery land out by the fence line. It looked like a piece of paper... the kind that floats out of a fire, so I had to investigate immediately. Turns out it was a big ol' blob of silk. Nature is lovely and strange.

Monday, September 5, 2016

One Step at a Time: Kitchen Edition, Just One More Thing

Alllllmost done. It sure looks cool like this and better than the black, but not the vibe we have going.

I know I said I was done for now and that I would enter Phase II (see below) at some point next year, but I had to do this one last thing: strip and repaint the wood stove stovepipe. We just didn't like the contrast of the new "metallic charcoal" finish on the stove with the flat black, factory finish on the pipe.

I think the black pipe might look better in the photo than real life, but still it doesn't look how we want it to.

I started by sanding it off with a sanding pad and it worked pretty well... until either a) it didn't or b) I got tired of sanding in the awkward positions required by this set up after about 90 minutes.

I should've known better and had that plastic go up the the ceiling, but I was tempted by the already-cut piece. Damnation.

So the next day, I decided to try out my vast collection of solvents and learned right quick that acetone was The Trick. I wish I'd tried the solvent method first, because even hand sanding got paint dust on the wall and that didn't vacuum up or wipe off. Sigh.

I'm really bummed that I have to prime and paint the wall back there again. 

The next morning, I set up some fans in exterior doorways and got a couple of coats on there while Delia waited upstairs.

Next spring I'm going to have to add picture rail to the rest of the room. Sigh.

And now I think the kitchen is done enough for now. Just a few more house projects and thenTime to work on Halloween and Dr. Potter's Medicine Show craft projects. YAHOO!

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.