Archive | February, 2010

Homemade bread

26 Feb

I recently learned how to make bread — I took a WONDERFUL workshop at the WONDERFUL Genesis Center in Westfield, MA.

I had tried to make bread in the past, and it was always a disaster and I had a big phobia about it. But thanks to our patient and gifted teacher, Katie Pinard, and thanks to the support of the other student bakers in the class, I did it! I was sure my loaf would be a rock, but it was delicious! There were no dud loaves in the whole class. Yay!

So today, I gathered up my courage and got some yeast out and experimented with four different loaves. This is a great project for the semi-employed because it is time-consuming, requires physical exertion (read: free workout), is very inexpensive, and provides food).

The first photo is all of us at the workshop with our beautiful loaves, and the second are the four I baked up today.

We’re hoping for a second bread making class (maybe braided breads!). Yay bread!

True love.

24 Feb

Claudette and Jerome

Sink refinishing

22 Feb

Wow. I had an old sink, covered in dirt, the porcelain eroded. Gross-o-rama. I read about powder coating on Door 16 and brought it to a powder coating shop in my city (Morini’s Performance Coatings, Springfield, MA). Here are the results:

Our fair city!

16 Feb

One of my city’s neighborhoods won the This Old House “Best Old House Neighborhoods of the Northeast” for 2010!!!!! The web site that a friend and I created to promote the city, ChooseSpringfieldMass.com was cited in the article, so I hope we’ll be getting lots of increased traffic and lots of interest from people who love old homes but hate to spend a lot of money. Our houses were listed as “shockingly affordable” AND “Western Mass’s finest houses.” DAMN STRAIGHT!

Ta da! Banisters and newels done.

13 Feb

It took about 15-20 hours over the course of two weeks to get the banisters and newels stripped, sanded, and oiled up. I didn’t stain them. After stripping with PeelAway7 and sanding (mostly by hand, but with the help of a small electric sander on some newel places), I wiped the wood down with de-natured alcohol, and then applied boiled linseed oil to the wood. I did a lot of research online and in a woodworking store about the best way to make the wood look and feel great. I’m really glad I went with the boiled linseed oil, as it seems more natural than stain and polyurethane, and it feels much better than poly.

I had some boiled linseed oil in stock from another project, had the sandpaper and rags and stuff, so I estimate that the total project cost about $35.00 in new purchases (I needed some more steel wool, and I got eye protective goggles, plus the cost of about a third of a bucket of peel away). It was messy (the stripping goop, the sawdust, the clean up — not quite done cleaning up), it was time consuming, but now it’s done and I think the wood looks GREAT!

Again, please forgive the photo quality. I’m using my phone’s camera and it doesn’t have a flash (but who’d a thunk it that a phone would even take pictures???)