Friday, June 26, 2015

Keeping Busy

Not a lot of posts lately for two reasons. First, house guest season has started (!) and when we're enjoying our guests we're doing just that, not taking tons of photos or thinking up ways to make those visits into posts. Visiting us is a little bit of getting away from it all (or so we like to think), so we don't think our loved ones should feel like they'll be blogged about and upon. Second, I have been preparing to participate with a couple of neighbor-friends in the first annual Bitterroot 50-mile Garage Sale! I have been going through all the boxes, cupboards, closets, drawers, and bins.  Between myself and the others, we have made good use of the 15' x 20' storage unit we rented in the valley. WOO!  

You don't have to be able to make out the words, just look at that picture for Saturday (4th from the left). It's only supposed to be 3 degrees hotter than Friday, but for some reason those 3 degrees make a BIG difference in the thumbnail representation of the day. Oof.

This morning we'll set up a pop-up tent in front to give us another 10' x 10' and hopefully sell the heck out of all our crap stuff! There has been A LOT of advertising and marketing for this and we are told people are coming from out of state to shop the 200 (!) vendors with crap wares for sale!  It's going to be a long, hot couple of days, but it should be fun and will hopefully replace some of our unused crap things with more useful cash to put towards other summer projects. It's just a nice feeling that our crap belongings that we don't use or need anymore might have another life with someone who will use or does need them.

If I have the time and inclination, I will try to get pictures of our sale site. WOO!

In the meantime, we attended E's employer's Employee Picnic and ran into an old friend. BIGFOOT FOREVER!

And while I was making trips to and from the house and the truck with boxes and materials for the sale, I spotted this super downy feather stuck to a weed underneath where a couple of pairs of swallows are nesting. They must be getting close to fledging! Or something!
In less bright sunlight, the feather was more of a dove grey color. Er, swallow chick grey.

After I took a few photos, I picked up the feather for a closer look and noticed this wee fellow on the quill. This creature (cricket? grasshopper?) was at most 1/4" long.  Neat!

Speaking of yellow-brown wildlife, this toad gave me quite a start a couple of weeks ago when I was draining the water out of the woodpile tarp. I suppose he'd been eating the mosquito larvae that I was concerned about. I wonder if it's this same toad I saw last year over by the hose bib on the house? It's about twice the size of that one.

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Quick & Easy Screen Door Fix!

The house came with a couple of decent-looking screen doors on the front, one upstairs and one down. They were both hung on the wrong side of the jamb and therefore awkward to use in a couple of ways.  Also, neither of them had handle or lock hardware, just a hook-and-eye. Then the downstairs screen door, the one hung on the front door which gets A LOT of traffic, wasn't altered at all since purchase and therefore was so tight in the jamb that we couldn't have a door mat outside - this is a bigger deal because the same is true with the clearance of the front door itself... no room for a door mat and we have a THIN one. All of these things are annoying and sometimes frustrating, but not enough for us to have fixed them... until last winter when I couldn't stand the idea of not having a door mat outside any longer and took it down.

The still-installed upstairs door, which does allow for a door mat.

We don't have the tools (yet) to cut that door down a bit and I had all the materials on hand to make an "curtain style" insect screen for the front door. This project was SUPER EASY and pretty quick.

The new screen curtain on the front door.

Supplies (for one door):
1 roll of 36" x 84" pet screen (fiberglass and sturdier with pet claws than metal)
2 three-yard packages* of 1/2" double-fold bias tape (I used black, but a bright color could be fun)
1 curtain tension rod that fits your door jamb.

Sewing machine
Straight pins

Step 1: Sew an appropriately-sized rod pocket into the top. It needs to be wide enough to easily slip the tension rod through, but not so wide as to make the screen too short. Mine is about 1.75". I just used the standard straight stitch on my Pfaff for all the sewing. After I did this first step, I installed it and we lived with it a few days to be sure we would like it before I put more work and materials into it. We did like it - at least a lot more than we liked the door, and it was good fun watching the dogs find it for the first time.

NOTE: My door frame was the right width for the screen right out of the package. If yours is narrower, cut the screen to fit. Luckily, the grid pattern of the screen makes it easy to cut straight so long as you take your time and your eyes don't go wonky with the shifting squares.

I think it would have looked nicer if I'd added the bias tape before making the rod pocket, but I'm not convinced it would have functioned better so I'm going to be satisfied with it as it is.

Step 2: After making sure that the rod was at the top of the door jamb, I found where the screen hit the deck (as it were) to decide where to hem. Then I used the lines in the screen to keep it level and pinned it in place. Sew it. Working closely with insect screen can make your eyes go wonky and play optical illusion tricks, so I thought pinning would help me keep it straight.

I didn't get a shot of the hem before I added the bias tape. And I missed cutting that one thread (upper right) before taking he photo. Meh.
Not the neatest stitching I've ever done, but everything is secure and you seriously don't even notice when you're not taking a macro photo of it. ;)

Step 3: Then I bound it with the bias tape, working with the whole length and cutting as I came near the end of the screen. The ends of the bias tape are tucked under about a 1/2".  I didn't get to fussy about making sure the folded under part didn't show since both the tape and the screen are black.

I considered adding a mullion detail for funsies and because the screen is kind of invisible which leads to forgetting it's there and having that walking-into-a-web-feeling, but Eric likes how it kind of looks like the door is just open and unobstructed and I like keeping the project easy and quick.

Not much to look at, but that's one of the benefits as far as we're concerned. And in person, it looks just like a darkened doorway.

I'm going to do another for the upstairs door, but will also keep the screen door installed since it's in the guest room and we want guests to feel comfortable sleeping with the door open on hot summer nights.

* Eric was shocked that I wasn't going to make the bias tape, since that's one of my things. Since I wanted plain black to blend with the screen material, it made sense to go with pre-made: faster AND cheaper since I used coupons.