Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Dr Potter's Medicine Show

Eric's publisher is finalizing some dates for the "World Tour of the Pacific Northwest" during the second week of February. After that he is hoping to do some events at some of the local bookshops in Missoula and Hamilton. So we put together these postcards for him to take with him when he visits with shop owners and managers. FUN! They fit in a standard envelope, too.

I took the file to a local copy shop to have the color book cover printed on to card stock (2 per page). Then we can print whatever is appropriate on the back. To start, I did a half dozen of these.

FEB 7, 2017!


For the next 4 days we're preparing for big doin's on next Sunday. I can't wait to share that!

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Dr Potter's Medicine Show

There's still something to be excited for at our house and it is this:

Fun Facts: I didn't know this, but apparently in the US new book releases come out on Tuesday. In the UK it's Thursdays, so that's why Dr. Potter's Medicine Show will hit the shelves on Feb 2 in the UK and Feb 7 in the US. I chose to go with the US release for our countdown since that's when we'll get to see it in person.

Right now this little chalkboard tree is living on the wainscot ledge in the little hall off the kitchen with the mock up of Eric's book I made a few weeks ago.

Monday, November 21, 2016

Hard as Hell Being Green Anymore

Remember how excited I was about having closer options for more recycling? Well, that's dead now.

Obviously I can take it to their facility in Hamilton, but I so rarely have any reason to go that way - it would be wasteful to make a special trip. So, I'll probably mostly be taking it into Missoula, but I have to verify where that place takes, because I'm not sure it's the exact same selection.

You might also remember that a couple other recycling options were killed earlier this year, too. Damn it, what a drag. 

Friday, November 18, 2016

What a Difference a "Year" Makes: Fourteen* Months of DIY

My Spring/Summer To-do List still has some things on it. Things that I probably won't even get to this autumn. So, I've been feeling a bit like I failed. But THEN I looked around the place and saw all that we have accomplished in year (and two months)... it's A LOT. So you know that I'm going to list them here to make myself feel good.

1. September 2015. We installed a kitchen island. MOST of this work was done by carpenter extraordinaire, Renaissance Handyman Nick. I just finished it.

2. September 2015. I built that gorgeous wood shed. Well, most if it.

3. Sept 2015 & June 2016. Painted and restrung the clothes line. Also made one end of it into a snow gauge.

4. October 2015. Repainted and replaced the name sign at the bottom of the private road.

5. February through July 2016. Did a major surface remodel of our kitchen. There are many posts about it through those months. In fact most of the posts in those months are of that. And September 2016, refinished the stovepipe.

6. April 2015. Made a few funsies or accessories projects for the kitchen remodel, including this magnetic cap catcher bottle opener, a bag drying rack (that's right, I wash and reuse freezer storage bags), and a paper towel holder.

7. June and August 2016: Painted all the exterior window trim and the balcony door and its trim.

8. July 2016. Rebuilt and refinished the picnic table.

9. July and August 2016. Picked up where I left off with remodeling and redecorating the downstairs bathroom. Still plenty of work left to do, but it is getting there.

10. July 2016. Replaced a few truly rotten deck boards.

11. July and August 2016. Hauled the non-recyclable and non-reusable rubbish left by the last owners to the transfer station. Two trips down, probably at least two more to go. Sigh.

12. August and October* 2016. Finally installed a handrail on our staircase.

13. September and October 2016. Painted front door and new stop & brick moulding for it. Finished new interior door moulding. Renaissance Handyman Nick reset the front and back doors so that it would have enough clearance for us to finally have a door mat inside like civilized folk.

All this while taking care of life's general and typical requirements and events, various creative projects, cancer treatment and end-of-life care for Betty, and Eric getting his publishing deal and all that goes with that. In conclusion: we really kicked some butt!

No wonder I'm tired and feel like I need a break from house projects.

*Well, more like fourteen-and-a-half months. I had expected to get the handrail done by the end of October, but it took until the end of the second week of November.

Monday, November 14, 2016

Hold On! Just Two More House Projects

I have been trying hard to wrap up the house projects for the season while also focusing on preparing for winter* and also some more crafty-type DIY projects.

Renaissance Handyman Nick has finished our exterior doors! We can now have a doormat inside the front AND the back/mudroom door! And someday I'll find some really great looking, super functional, cost-effective door mats. For now I have super-functional and cost-effective, at least.

He reset the whole door and frame up about 3/4" so while he was at it we got new brick- and stop moulding which I pre-painted. It'll be next spring before I can fill and paint the jamb, though. On the inside we got new weather stripping and new moulding!

Look! Even the view through the window is better! Note that you can see light both above and below the door in the before shot? Sheesh!

I don't know that they insulated AT ALL when they enclosed the back porch to create what we call the mudroom. So dealing with this door was less about weather-proofing and more about varmint-proofing, being able to open the door all way, annnnnnd have a doormat. Time to clean the doors!

Nick also taught me how to figure out the angle of the stair rail so I could build it the way I want it and finally get the rail installed.

After all that and it just looks like... just that. At least the next time one of us has an injured leg we'll be more stable on the stairs.
I wanted a "return" and I wanted the bottom, flat part of the handrail moulding to remain roughly parallel to the floor. My carpenter friends in Oregon enlightened me to the fact that I'd have to level out first, so I knew I'd need Nick to teach me how to figure out that angle. And then as I was playing with some scrap pieces I realized a couple of things: I didn't like the way that looked at the bottom of the stairs and It was really challenging (i.e. scary and probably leaning towards dangerous) for me to cut small pieces with my beloved, beautiful compound miter saw. Then I watched a YouTube video on the This Old House channel to see about how to assemble all these parts and saw that they just did a simple 90-degree return, flat part of the moulding being parallel with the floor be damned. Well, screw it, if it's good enough for Tom Silva, it's good enough for Tara Fields. **Eric Fischl won't even notice, you can count on that.

Look at all that spackle! Filling all those holes and divots! Yeah, yeah... I'll get to it.

Months and months ago I searched and searched for handrail brackets that I liked. It's probably usually not such a big deal that they have a certain look, but since we can look right at them from the sofa, I wanted them to be an appropriate finish and style for the rest of the updates we've made. Also months and months ago, I discussed this project with my dear friend, Dale, who had been a finish carpenter for years and years and he suggested that I match the angle of the handrail to the angle of the stair wall/moulding on the living room side, rather than the stairs. BRILLIANT. I mean, it's really close to the same, but maybe not exactly. Walking up or down the stairs with your hand on the rail you wouldn't notice a slight difference in angle, but you sure would see it from the sofa!

Here's a close-up shot of the last owners' pink paint and not-great DIY texturing of the wall.

A LOT of time, effort, and planning went into this project and I must say that the finished project is underwhelming. After months of on and off work, sourcing, research, phone calls, emails, IMs, psyching myself up and down it just looks like it should've looked the whole time... like a normal, up-to-code, handrail. At least I got those cool, pewter finish, cast iron rail brackets. Sigh.

*Preparing for winter includes, but is not limited to, the following:
Ordering firewood for delivery, then stacking it in the woodshed.
Getting the canopy back on Bert, the pickup truck, loading the sandbags & tire chains.
Putting away all the patio furniture, hoses, etc., like people everywhere.

**Until/If he reads this. Or I tell him. Which I did.

UPDATE: Long Winter's Nap

Delia mostly kicked the blanket off herself in a fit of nest-making, so I finished off the job and now the fancy new store-bought dog bed in the "new" kitchen is nekkid.


I added a new page called Glossary and Cast List. I started putting it together ages ago and had a heckuva time "publishing" it, but suddenly last week I spotted a button I hadn't noticed before in a place I didn't expect one to be and it finally is out there. It's up there in that bar under the title if you've been dying to know what some common abbreviation is or are otherwise interested.