29 July 2005

The curtain Winning Streak is officially Over

I bought this set of curtains to try in the master bedroom because Tim thought he wanted green. It's the wrong green though. Too celery, not enough olive. So I took them into the guest room and loved the green with the purple in the wall (and the green on the bedspread/wall hangings). The only thing is it's too much green in one place. I think I'm going to try a set of tie backs and a sheer underneath.

Oh yeah, if the other curtains were old lady undies, then these are a bridesmaids dress. Maybe that's my problem. I'm more of a undie person than a dress person. At least now if I have company they don't have to worry about being seen in their undies.

Air Tractor

Tim flew over the house with the airplane he was working on this morning.

Oliver had an Exciting Morning

Oliver spends a lot of time looking out windows, but for some reason he was particularly interested in the mudroom window this morning. And he keeps chattering away.
Look what the great orange hunter has cornered on the other side of the window, a wounded bird. He's trying so hard to get through the glass it's funny :)

28 July 2005

News Out of Waterloo

It's been awhile since I've checked out the Waterloo Courier to see what's going on. It seems quite a lot.

In Mason City the Park Inn has received a grant for interior renovations.

27 July 2005

Darkness Be Gone

It finally came! The new light for the mudroom arrived late this afternoon.

Remember we were unhappy with the light we originally picked out for the room.

Well, I think we made the right decision in sending it back (Love you and your wonderful customer service Rejuvination!).

You can't tell it in the photo, but the yellow strip on the shade is the perfect compliment to the yellow in the quilt pattern floor. If Martha was here she would sigh and say, "It's a good thing."

There's a Light at the End of the Tunnel

Please don't let it be a train :)

Just about all of the woodwork in the front upstairs hall is in. Save of course those few pieces that didn't get refinished or that aren't quite fitting the way they used to therefore in need of tweeking. And of course I still have to sink nails and fill.

This has been a monster of a project. There are 9 doors in this hall two of them being to other parts of the hall (two sides to finish). Plus when I'm done there's no perk of moving stuff in. I'm just done. So the motivation just hasn't been there for this one.

We Love Company

Yesterday the Wirths who grew up in the house stopped by for a visit. I was kind of nervous since a lot of the house has changed since they lived there. But they seemed excited about the work that was being done.

They too said that the outhouse was off of the north-west corner of the house. So I guess I had better get into gear (a little motivation Greg?) and get that moved and fixed up before the weather changes. They also told the story of how they used the room that is now Tim's office as in "indoor bathroom" when it got too cold out for the outhouse and before there actually was indoor plumbing in the house. I think it's great how much that grosses out Tim :) I've been thinking about running out to the barn and getting a bucket and an old toilet seat and putting them in the middle of the room for when he gets home tonight, hee hee.

They said that the cement foundation was put on the barn while they lived there which we knew, but they said that it originally the boards went all of the way to the ground. How they put the foundation in was to brace up the barn and cut off the bottom of the boards where it had rotted. They then poured the foundation and set the barn back on it. When the foundation was done was probably the last time the thing was roofed and painted too.

I think my favorite comment that they made was walking into the kitchen someone said how it still looks like a farm house kitchen. Then they told the story of their mother's new kitchen table and how she got so disgusted with the old one she threw it down the basement stairs and it broke into splinters. It was just great because you know how much I love kitchen tables.

Something I think is interesting too is how the people who lived here previously notice different things that other guests do. Usually the first comment when seeing the kitchen is about the tin on the ceiling. Their comment on the ceiling was remembering how high it used to be and how they would paint a band around the walls to try to "bring it down."

Another discovery we made was that the window in the north side of the upstairs hall was shortened sometime after they left. While in the pantry they commented that there was always a problem with leaks from that roof. And when we went upstairs they noticed that that window was shortened. We knew that because you could tell from the framing when we took the walls out. However we just assumed that the window was shortened when the pantry addition was put on the house. Now we know it was done at a much later time due to the roof pitch being changed to fix a leak problem.

They had many more wonderful stories of growing up here. And as they left they wished us a life as full of happiness in the house as they had.

Thank you!

26 July 2005

Accessorizing with Old Lady Undies

I finally got the curtains up in the big bedroom next to ours. They were a sale item from the latest J.C. Penny catalog. I must say I am very happy with them.

See if I just take my time and choose wisely I might night have to break down and pay Smith and Noble prices for all of my window coverings. Just please advert your eyes when driving by for the time being. I'll let you know when you can look again :)

The only thing that is kind of strange is they remind me of old lady underpants. They have that kind of color and feel to them.

What's a Guy Gonna Do

So what does a guy do after he finishes putting up the trim in the closet.

Why he starts refinishing the trim for the mudroom of course.

25 July 2005

How We Are Refinishing Our Woodwork ~Part 1 (removing the woodwork)

When we decided to take our walls down, we also decided to take the woodwork down with them figuring it would be easier to refinish them off of the walls.

This job ended up falling to me since I seem to have been given a greater amount of patience than Tim.

Tools of choice:

  • a good heavy hammer
  • a large pry bar for the bases and downstairs crowns
  • a "regular" sized crow bar for the casings and other smaller trim pieces
  • black Sharpe markers
  • nippers
  • dremel tool with cutting wheel attachments
  • 5 gallon bucket
  • my brute strength you little girlie men (said as Arnold)

To take each piece down I placed the head of the crow bar against the wood, hammered it in behind the piece, and then pulled like crazy.

Ease of removal seemed to vary by room. Rooms like the master bedroom and bathroom were a cinch. In the dining room, office, and guest bedroom the plaster behind the boards had rotten to the point that I had to take many "sanity breaks" during the removal process. Also the oak downstairs came off much easier than the fir.

As I took each piece down I labeled each one on the back-side with a black Sharpe. At the time I was scared to death that it would not stand up the the chemicals I would use, but it turns out the little bit of stripper that ends up on the back of the pieces does not remove the mark. I also had digital pictures of all of the trim in the room and I labeled those pictures with the same marks as the woodwork. That way I knew the starting points in the room.

Once the pieces were down and marked I used a pair of nippers to pull out the millions of nails that the builders and PO's had placed in the pieces. If brute strength did not work on a particular nail I brought out the big guns and used the cutting wheel attachment on a dremel. The nails went in the 5 gallon bucket to be taken out to the dumpster at the end of the day.

Becky's words of advise: Have planned out a protected perment space (not in the house) where you are going to store the boards before you begin the removal process. For some reason we did not think it would be very much work to move around the woodwork for an 18 room house. Boy were we WRONG!

***Warning: Woodwork was one of the first projects we started to tackle. Everything we have done has been based on local advise/trial-and-error. Yes, I have regrets. Please don't yell at us for being ignorant.

Completed Closet

The little closet upstairs is now complete (well except for refinishing the door and hardware, and putting on the light switch and cover).

This little tin light fixture was one that was in the back bedroom of the house.

Now I just have to get some more storage containers or throw away some of this stuff.

24 July 2005

Closet Trim Takes Shape

Tim has been working on putting the trim up in the closet the last couple of days while I have been franticly trying to pick things up for the guests. Cross your fingers he's done in time so we don't have to lead them through the maze of Christmas decorations and winter clothing that is currently in the hall.

23 July 2005

Tim Wows Me Again

Tim's sister went to school to be a landscape designer. After not hearing from one local company we sent house photos to, and being generally unhappy with the attention we received and the general boringness of the plans received from another company we decided to try a long distance job with her. She is currently living in Seattle and trying to get her own business started. She's looking to build her portfolio/reputation so let me know if you'd like her info.

I'm so excited! Tim's mom has a fantastic eye when it comes to the yard and it definitely was a genetic trait that Angie picked up. I know she'll do a wonderful job and actually listen to what we want to do instead of designing us something that could be in front of a McMansion.

So we are in the process of rounding up all of our "inspiration photos" and other information that she'll need for the job. I got home tonight and found that Tim had done these amazing line drawings of our house so I can fill in my ideas right on the sheet and he'll make other copies for measurements and for her to use when designing. Aren't they great!

I Have Guilt

The anticipation of next weeks guest seems to have broken down the wall we hit a month or so ago. You know, after you go great guns for a few weeks things all of a sudden grind to a halt. Well not any more. We are back in the swing of things around here.

This morning Tim hopped out of bed and proceeded to remove all of the nails from the kitchen bead board trim that had been riding around in the truck of my car since mid-2003. After removing the nails he loaded it all back up and drove it to town to the guy who we had strip the kitchen trim pieces previously.

I guess the guy wasn't so happy to see Tim. His comments included, "You know it's no fun to strip woodwork in the heat." and "You sure can fit a lot of wood into this trunk."

I suppose I had better wait another couple of months before I attempt to take the gigantic wardrobe I inherited from my mother to him to be refinished to match the bedroom set in the big bedroom. It's put together without any nails or screws so I guess it's a little stressful if you take it apart and want to put it back together again.

22 July 2005

Feng Shui Woodwork

We are having guests on Tuesday! A group of siblings who grew up in the house is coming to see the progress. I'm so excited. I love these visits, you always learn so much.

So in preparation for this we are trying to get some stuff in order. Last night while I was at work Tim surprised me by organizing all of the woodwork in the foyer.

This is pretty much what it's looked like for the past year.

Tim ended up just moving everything out to the porch and then all back in again. Here's a picture he took during the move.

The pieces are now arranged by room and Tim even found quite a few pieces we have been missing (like the window trim for the master bath).

21 July 2005

RIP Little Corn Crib

"You know that corn crib you took pictures of awhile ago," Tim asked me tonight when I got home.

"Yeah," I replied.

"Well it's a good thing you did because they burned it down tonight, trees and all. I thought Leon had set his house on fire so I drove by."


After our drive through Rockford we had to head over to Osage to check out the big new hanger being built at the airport. On the way there we drove by this little house. This is what I want the landscaping around our house to look like.

Afterwards we went to supper with Tim's folks and then drove out to Sugar Creek farm to check out their siding project. It's looking great!

After talking to Matt we are leaning more and more towards the cement board.

Now I just want to get names of local people who have put the stuff up from the lumber yard and check out their projects. Then if we are still interested we'd like to get a sample of the stuff to see how it cuts and how it looks in the height that we would want.

Rockford, IA

Yesterday I had the day off since I'm going to work all weekend. One day off for two days of work, seems fair :P

So in the afternoon we went for a little drive through the neighboring town of Rockford. Here's some photos of some of the houses we liked.

They had lots of nice 4-squares on the residential side of Main.

Here's a great old train depot.

I loved the entry way to this house.

Nice looking house, but I don't really care for the oversized shutters.

Oh Dear!

20 July 2005

Lack of Carpenter = Money to Burn

Ok the carpenter still hasn't shown up so we decided to dip into his fund to buy ourselves a bed.

We really needed one. Why? If I tell you have to promise not to laugh or make any off color jokes. Promise?

Ok, we broke it. For the past two years the bottom half of it has been held up by cookbooks and Tom Clancy novels.

Hey, you promised, no snickering either.

And actually I broke it. How? Ok, only if you promise not to tell my mom (mom you are not allowed to read any further). Promise? Ok.

I was jumping on it.

Mom if you are still reading don't act so offended. Technically it's your fault for not allowing me to jump on beds when I was a more reasonable size.

And don't worry, I won't break the new bed. I have reformed and now only jump on hotel room beds.

19 July 2005

Return of the Mystery Plant

I was coming back from my daily watering rounds, glanced at the mystery plant...

Guess what!!! It has these kinda large yellow flowers. So since they are not pink I think I will leave the plant and let the mystery continue.

Newton Jewelers

Started paying a little more attention to that neon sign about three years ago :)

17 July 2005

Family Reunion 2005 ~Part 2

Here are some shots from my great grandparents farm.

See barns and Victorian farm houses are in my blood :)

Family Reunion 2005 ~Part 1

I've always wanted to be named after someone. I don't know why. My little sister Mary got to be named after someone cool. Not me.

But guess what! Yesterday I discovered I have a great-great-great-great-grandmother Becky

I wish I had inherited her chair.

She can keep that dress.

My uncle Bob brought this great notebook with all of these copies of old family photos done up by the wife of a cousin of his (wow confusing).

But from now on I'm going to say I was named after her.

15 July 2005

Landscaping with Vegetables

Yesterday mom came over for a chat with cinnamon rolls from the bakery (thanks again mom!). On her way out she noticed this little guy by the steps.

"Is that a cucumber?"

I of course had never noticed it, always paying more attention to the rotting siding above it.

So stay tuned...
In a few weeks we'll learn the identity of the mystery plant!

Call for Advise II

Con #1
Ok, since the siding did not come in our current width the lumber yard guy said buy twice as big and cut it in half. I'm guessing from everyone's comments that's not going to be possible.

Pro #1
This lumber yard is the same place that we get our cedar siding and the price of the cement board is about half of the price of the wood.

Pro #2
Yes it is paintable. You can get it in colors, but the lumber yard guy said that it is much more expensive that way and not really worth it because the factory color only lasts about 15 years.

The painting isn't really an issue for us we just want something that won't leak anymore and further destroy what we have done. We've bought all new cedar shingles for the peaks (they don't have all of our shake styles in cement so that wasn't even an option) so hopefully that will help some what.

And for me to purchase the product it would have to be smooth. I've seen the wood grain boards and don't really care for them.

And good idea Stuccohouse about asking the lumber yard about other homes. That way maybe we could find a contractor who is experienced in putting them up too if they tend to be a little bendy and hard to work with.

Any other thoughts/suggestions?

We're a Long Ways From...

Sometimes it just seems like talking to people about the house is like a long car ride with small children.

"Are you done yet?"
"Are you done yet?"
"Are you done yet?"
"Are you done yet?"

14 July 2005

Call for Advise

So what does everyone think about cement board siding? We've got replacing to do and we're considering this alternative. Tim talked to the owner of the local lumber company and he has it on his house and loves it. He's also the one that recommended our windows and we've been so happy with them.

So what have you all heard about the product? Anyone out there have any experience with the stuff?

Another Barn Shot

So I'm thinking now I should have parked a car next to her so you get an idea of her size, like Gary's level. That's a lot of reason why it's been so hard to make the decision to fix it up, it's going to take a LOT of materials.

This photo was taken from the back bedroom on the second story of the house.

I guess if you have a big house you need a big barn to match. Does that mean I have to eat lotsa chocolate so I'm a big lady? Cause I would enjoy that :)
Under the tree is the old pump house. We're just choosing not to deal with that for right now. Between that and the barn is the outhouse (it's flipped on it's side). That was going to by my summer project. Guess I should get started on it huh...

13 July 2005

Feeling Artistic 2

Meet Our Barn

"Scooped the hay out of the barn," is Tim's reply of the last few nights when asked what he did that evening. So I decided this morning to head out there for a look see.

The pile was pretty impressive.

As I walked into the lower level of the barn I remembered how much this looks like a salvage shop. I am instantly depressed by the amount of stuff there is to contend with.I know Tim will want to get rid of some of it. Nooooooooo....

A shot of one of the pegs that hold this barn together. "Look ma, no nails."

Heading up the ladder to the haymow I am shocked by how much the roof had deteriorated in the last two years.

There were small holes in it at the time of purchase, but now we have big open sections in places. It's a reality check.

When I reach the haymow I am greeted with what I am assuming is Tim's weapon of choice.

Off to my right I can make out the area that has been cleared.

Here's a shot of the floor in an area where he has cleared.

Note to self: Forbid him to work up here unless I am home to rush him to the hospital.

So I carefully make my way over to the window that holds one of my favorite views of the house.

Wow, that back door looks crappy. We really need to get that painted!

I take one final look...

and head back down the ladder.