Archive | October, 2010

Brain cells re-activated by ancient varnish fumes?

30 Oct

While the electricians were busy installing the new lights and taking down the mammoth front hall chandelier (that I need to bring to be re-wired and give a proper cleaning to), I was busy heat-gunning the last section of pocket door.

Last door heat gunned.

Last door heat gunned.

I still have to do the second round on the bottom, but tomorrow’s another day.

Here’s the chandelier awaiting re-wiring:

And this is the spacial hole left behind:

But the inspiration I had was to fish out the super heavy duty curtains I’d made several years ago for the downstairs front door (out of school uniform fabric that cost about 99 cents a yard on sale at the late lamented Hancock Fabrics) and use them in the kitchen. The orange velvet wasn’t working for me, and after spending all that money on the electricians and new eyeglasses, I didn’t fancy buying a bunch of fabric and insulation and making new drapes.

I think these plaid blue ones have a nice Yankee feel to them, and they’ll look quite dapper indeed with the black ceiling that is to come. I felt absence of draft as soon as I put them up. Three cheers for the brain restoration powers of varnish fumes — hip hip.. gaaarrarra…………


30 Oct

I got rid of my TV in August. I’ve been really intrigued by some people’s responses to this. Many people have reacted with outrage/shock, saying “What do you do with your time?” or “Don’t you miss it?”. Well, I read a lot and don’t miss tv at all. I felt like it was adding no value to my life, and when I had it, I’d turn it on rather than read (even when I really wanted to read), because it took no effort.

I’ve been really taken aback by the strength of people’s reactions — like I said I’d just drowned a puppy or something. It’s just a stupid tv!

I was listening to “Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me” on the radio today (I am an epic radio listener) and they mentioned a study linking depression with enjoyment of television viewing. Here’s an article about the study.

Who knew? I’m definitely happier without the telly (not that I thought I was depressed or unhappy with it – -just wasting my time), and I’m certainly reading more. I’ll direct my interlocutors to this study the next time they give me the old shock and awe about being boob tube-less.

New lights in kitchen

30 Oct

Hooray! The electricians (Ron and Dave) who did the work in my bathroom came by today and installed the pendant lights that I’d gotten on Craigslist (for ten bucks) in the kitchen (installation cost a bit more than that…. eek!). So now I can see — well, kind of, because I’m also aged and am awaiting new specs from the optician (bifocals — the eye doc kindly informed that after you hit 40, your eyes basically start turning into marbles. ok…) Anyway, now my marbles and I can see in the kitchen. And when I paint the ceiling black, it won’t be so dark.
Here are some daytime photos — am looking forward to nightfall tonight for the full lighting effect!

However, since the job cost about double what I expected, I may have to postpone sanding the pocket doors. I’m working with the heat gun now and was planning to buy a new fancy sander with a bag to sand tomorrow. I have to have a good look at my finances before deciding on whether to sand or not to sand…

Idle hands

28 Oct

So there I was, feeding the dog and basically minding my own business in the kitchen. I’m planning to re-paint the kitchen soon-ish. So I was kind of thinking about painting, and I noticed for the millionth time what appeared to be loose wallpaper. I thought I’d give it a little tug and see what condition the condition of the wall was in. Well… the whole strip came up and revealed not the damaged plaster that I had feared but un-sanded, un-finished bare drywall.

My assumption is this: the previous owners (who were very kind and elderly and [in my opinion] were often ripped off by less than professional workers) hired someone to fix up this one wall in the kitchen, and said someone did a crappy job and just threw up some wallpaper (or wall liner — I can’t remember if the room was painted or papered when I moved in) rather than finish the walls.

So this is actually good news for me. I was dreading that the curved exterior wall was going to need actual plaster repair, which I can do, but would rather not do. Because it’s hard. And messy. And I’m lazy, like the guys who drywalled it a dozen years ago. So when I do do that voodoo that you do so well — i.e. re-paint the kitchen — I’ll pull all this junk off, sand the drywall, maybe give it a skim coat, paint it, and then have a nice paint-able wall without all the wrinkles and buckles I’ve been looking at all these years.

How long does it take to strip paint?

28 Oct

This represents four hours of work with the heat gun and scraper:

Still to come: all over sanding and chemical stripper for the molding — about two more hours of work time and at least 30-60 minutes of wait time while the chemical does its thing. Plus if I’m going to be good about it, another round of sanding.

So I’m going to call it eight hours of removal per side of each door, making it 32 hours of removal, plus a couple hours total of staining and oiling or polyeurathaning. 35 total? So if one were to pay a skilled professional, one might want to think about the time involved. Though a skilled pro might have all sorts of other tricks and techniques to make it go a lot faster.

And how much paint was removed in those four hours of heat gun stripping? Voici:

It doesn’t seem like much in the photo, but it seems like a LOT here on the ground. Well gang, there ain’t no stoppin’ me now. I’m on the move. I’m going to get the rest of the heat gun work done on Friday and Saturday and Sunday’s going to be my big sand-a-thon and stripeze-fun house (it’s also Halloween).

And then…. they’ll be so close to done. It’s taken me almost nine years, but I’m finally tackling them. woohoo.

Unexpected burst of energy

28 Oct

It was warm today. I didn’t feel like doing the paper-work type things I need to do. So despite (maybe not despite, maybe due to) a little fever I’ve had for a few days, I decided to start in on the paint removal from the pocket doors in the living room.

This is about an hour and a half’s work:

I’m hoping to (at least) finish the heat gun portion of that one door today. Aiming to have them both heat-gunned by the end of the day on Saturday, and then go out and get a better sander with a better dust collecting mechanism on Sunday and sand ’em up for Halloween. We’ll see.

Late October tomato harvest !!!!!

23 Oct

I just harvested all these tomatoes today, October 23rd. Unbelievable! These are from the same TWO — count ’em TWO — plants I got for $1.99 each at Ocean State Job Lots in May. It’s freezing and I’m worried about frost, so I thought I’d gather up all the red ones — I had to make two trips! And I brought that brave little pepper in, too. Once the frost kills the plants (it might be today), I’m going to stretch ’em out and measure them, because they are MONSTERS. If the frost holds off for a few more days, I should even be able to pick more toms, because there are at least two dozen more green ones out there. Mamma mia!

October 23 2010 tomato havest

October 23 2010 tomato havest