Tuesday, October 16, 2018

DIY Leaf Wreath

Today I have a tutorial for a Leaf Wreath! Thanks to sister Mandy, I also have step by step photos. (I always forget to take those...) Last week at work I was suddenly struck with a fit of fall craftiness and decided I needed make my own leaf wreath. I don't like letting all of Mother Nature's beauty go to waste! 
So on our Sunday morning walk with the Kerri dog we collected a huge stack of leaves! I had a couple of ideas on how to make the wreath, but ended up using my favorite styrofoam wreath wrapped in burlap ribbon. I wanted to really showcase all the leaves and I think it does!

The first step was to wax our leaves to help them last a bit longer without drying out and shriveling up. (I don't know how long it will actually make the leaves last, but I am hoping a couple of weeks.) We dried off any leaves that were dewy and laid them out on the table.
 Then we warmed up the iron, cut a piece of wax paper that fit nicely on the ironing board and arranged a bunch of the leaves on it. Make sure none of the leaves overlap, though we didn't worry about stems. It seemed to work better to lay the leaves face down on the waxed paper, preventing them from curling up when go to lay the top of wax paper on top.

 Place another piece of waxed paper on top of the leaves and iron. I had the iron on it's hottest setting and no steam. I didn't press hard or linger in any one place too long. Just like ironing fabric, smooth the wax paper across the leaves. You will see the paper melt together and on to the leaves.

Repeat these steps until you have all your leaves in wax paper. We had about 6 sheets of leaves. Once you are done, let them cool a few minutes while you gather the rest of your supplies.

You could do pretty much anything with your waxed leaves. Add them to a tabletop, clip them to twine for a garland or make a wreath!

I used regular sewing thread to wrap the leaves onto the wreath, thin wire would also work well. Knotting your thread at the starting point, wrap the thread around the back of the wreath, lay three or four leaves on the top and wrap the thread over the top of the wreath pulling snugly.

Continue placing leaves and wrapping the thread around the wreath being careful to keep the thread snug. This is the part where it is handy to have a second set of hands! Mandy would select a couple of leaves and lightly hold them in place while I wrapped the thread.

Keep on placing leaves and wrapping thread until you have covered your wreath. Somehow we came exactly perfect! We used the last of the leaves in the last wrap of thread! To secure the end of the thread, I pushed a straight pin into the wreath form, wrapped the thread several times around it and them knotted it around the pin. Once it was knotted, I then carefully pulled out the pin, moved it over a quarter of an inch to tighten it. And that is it!

Love all those fall colors! The leaves have already started curling a little bit, but it is still beautiful. 


Friday, October 12, 2018

Progress Report Week 15: Stairs and More Paint

The sun was at a lovely angle the other night. I couldn't resist taking a few pictures! After a rainy day it came out for a couple of hours and was so pretty. I have been working on restringing all the non functioning windows. It takes about an hour and fifteen minutes per window. I don't normally time myself, but I go over for about an hour before work and get small things done. Like re-string windows! 
In an hour I can get the stop trim off, take the window pane/sash out, pry off both parting beads (this is the stop on the outside of the window), dig out the screw on the access panel hidden under a zillion layers of paint, find the sash weight and cut off the old rope, string new rope from the pulley down to the weight and tie it off, knot the other end of the rope and push it into the rope channels on the window sash and give the window a test run up and down, screw the access panel back in place. Then my alarm goes off! 
In the evening before I start on painting I nail the parting beads back on and put the stop trim back; and the window is finished! One smooth opening window down! I love bringing back these old beauties. It is not the funest of jobs sometimes dealing with all the layers of paint and rusted screws, but so worth it!

 Last Saturday I talked the older brother into coming over with his paint sprayer and doing the trim and radiators. It was really nice to get it all done at once, but the prep takes a bit of getting use to! The living room and dining room is starting to look spiffy!

 I was really really excited to have the radiators and covers sprayed. The covers especially turned out perfect! There was a lot of scrapes and spots on the tops and the paint had yellowed. (It is always hard to tell if the paint was originally an off white or it is just age. No matter though, it all needs a fresh coat of paint!) Now the covers are crisp and clean, just waiting for someone to perch there for a look out the window!

 I was also really excited to finish up the stairs. We installed a metal post in the basement to make sure the stairs didn't continue to sag. The wedges also went back in with nails to keep them in place and screws in the back of the treads. Now the stairs creak a little bit, no more bouncing or shifting! I am really glad to be done with one as I am not fond of ladders and a ladder on the stairs? Yikes! But I did it and it is done. Now we just have to get a piece of drywall up there....

 This was really last weeks project, but hadn't taken photos yet. Don't you love that floor!! I also love oil based paint! This was the first time I have used it and I was very impressed. Of course it is different then latex and takes a bit to get use to. But I really wanted oil since it is a wet environment. We will see how it holds up.


The linen cupboard also got a layer of paint sprayed on it. I just need to paint the inside and get new knobs. 
There is still a whole lot of painting to do, but all the major projects are finished! It should be all ready to go by November 1st! Hopefully, I can find someone to move in that will love it as much as I do!

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Apple Picking 2018

Even though my schedule is a little tight right now, I wasn't going to miss apple picking! Two weekends ago my brother, his family and I all piled into the truck and went out to the orchard. It has become a family tradition now. (When you can't remember how long you have been doing it, it is a tradition!) Part of the whole experience is the drive, about 35 minutes through country roads.


I love these old apple trees! The area we picked in the trees weren't quite as big or old as other areas. But they are still nice sized trees with plenty of apples.

 This is my little apple tree. I got quite a tree full of apples this year, but unfortunately, most of them had worms. That didn't stop me from collecting the best ones and making an apple pie!


What is your favorite fall activity?

Friday, October 5, 2018

Progress Report Week 14: Paint and Radiators

I don't have a lot of exciting pictures for you this week. It has been very rainy and dark; and I have been on a roll! So not a lot of time to take pictures!
Mom and I washed all the windows and storms last Saturday. Makes a world of difference to get a couple of decades of grime of the glass! I also took a little time off and went apple picking with the nieces, another post on that coming soon.

One of my main goals this week was to clean the radiators and covers in the living room and dining room. I wasn't sure what the best way would be though. After ordering an attachment for the shop vac and it not being thin enough to get in the "ribs" of the radiators, I just grabbed a dryer lint brush and went to town. It stirs up the dust bunnies, but gets them some what clean. Of course, I made sure I had my mask and googles on! After brush them down I vacuumed them again, then wiped the tops with a wet microfiber rag.
Anyone have an experience cleaning radiators? Remember how your grandma or great-aunt use to do it?


I was also really excited to get the living/dining room primed! I had to laugh, behind the radiators I can see the walls use to be close to the same shade of cream I am planning on painting the walls. Old houses tell you what color they want to be! And you just can't argue!


I also got two coats of paint on the bathroom floors, so excited about how it turned out! No photos yet. The counter top man came to measure up for new counter tops. Most of the plants got dug up and moved from the front flower bed. 

And the closet doors got scraped and sanded! Ready for paint now!

Thursday, September 27, 2018

Progress Report Week 13: Stairs and Doors

It has been an exciting week at the Brick House! At lest, it has felt exciting to me. Quite a few projects that have been on the list have been checked off!
But before we get into all that, this was this mornings project. All these doors were in the garage when I bought the house. (Who know for how long! They were filthy!) I was pretty sure they belonged to the closets in the bedrooms, but wasn't certain. This morning I pulled them out, hosed them down and measured them. They all fit the closets! Yey!

 I was surprised two of the doors had different doorknobs. Very Art Deco, aren't they? You just never know what you are going to find in an old house!
The plan is to scrape these down and repaint them this weekend.

 With fall in the air, we knew time was running out to get any exterior painting done. So last weekend Mom and Mandy helped me paint the porch floor, steps, railing and porch walls. Doesn't it make it nice and crisp looking? Love the power of paint!

I darkened up the brown, the old color seemed to be clashing with the brick. I also moved the house numbers. Not sure why, but putting up new house numbers has kinda become my thing with new houses. Just another way to put my mark on a house!

 We have also been working the stairs. Thankfully, it is going really well. I was not looking forward to climbing up a ladder perched on top of stairs. (Heights are not my thing anyway.) But I survived and the stairs aren't scary to climb up now! We also added a steel jack post at the bottom of the basement stairs. It has sagged a bit and I was worried over the years it would continue to sag. The post has also made a difference it making the landing and stairs feel firmer.

 To the right, do you see the pale pieces of wood? Those are the new wooden shims. Once the house has settled in place from the jacking up, I will climb back up the ladder and nail them in place. We will also put screws in at the joints where the step and kick plate meet. You can see a few steps still have tiny little cracks that the light is shining through, I will have to snug up the shims and see if I can get them tighter.

I had some extra time one evening and decided to prime the back bedroom. Two of the walls were dark dusky purple. This room faces north so it is a little darker anyway. 

I also have been working on the bathroom floor. Sanding it down, getting ready to paint it. I am very excited to see how it turns out. I love painted floors!

So that has been my exciting week! What about yours?

Friday, September 21, 2018

12 Week Progress Report: Bushes and Primer

Fall is certainly here in our corner of the state! The weather has been yoyoing from cool to warm with plenty of rain and storms. I am not sure if am I ready! There are so many things that still need to be done on the outside of the Brick House. I decided it was time to focus a bit on that! This weekend we are going to paint the porch and front steps a darker brown.

 A couple mornings and evenings Mandy and I played in the dirt. We are moving some of the plants from this front flower bed to other locations. Did you notice the little flower bed next to the porch looks better? I cut down the old bushes(which had thorns!) and moved the two azalea bushes over. The little boxwoods also got re-arranged. It was cloudy and rainy, which was good for the plants, they haven't even noticed! Don't they look like they have always been there?

 This week I've also been priming. I primed all the nail holes, cable holes and plumbing holes that had previously been patched. So exciting to finally see the walls look normal! No more gaping holes. I was planning on doing a post on how I patch my plater walls, but of course I get into the working/fixing and forget to take pictures! Opps! 
This morning most of the bathroom also got painted. Just a little bit of cutting in left.

 Still loving my little sink! It is still not quite connected, but I finally got the part that we needed. Hopefully we can finish it up this weekend.

 Look at those lovely maple floors! I couldn't bare tearing them up. So for now I am going to paint them. (After a bit of sanding!) I realize it might not be a long term solution, but it will be fun to enjoy them for a couple years.


We also started working on the stairs this week. It is a little hard to tell with all the paint lines, but the steps and treads have separated. The stairs squeak and squeal, moan and groan when you tromp up them. It is a little hard to explain, but they way they built the stairs is called the "wedge method". The trim boards you see on the wall are actually part of the stairs and are holding it up. Slots are cut into it for the steps and treads and then to make everything firm and non-squeaky, wooden wedges are also put in on the underside of the steps. We are not sure if mine steps were built wrong or if they have not aged well, but one side of the steps have lost their wedges which has caused all the steps and treads to shift. Mandy and I are not 100% sure what we are doing, but we are attempting to put in new wedges and fit the steps back into their slots. The first two steps are done and it is a vast improvement! So that is encouraging!

Friday, September 14, 2018

11 Week Update


 The last two weeks have been a bit slow. What with Labor Day and then going to visit our sister, there wasn't a whole lot of time to get a lot of things done. Plus, I am still savoring the fact we have the bathroom just about done! :)

 With the insurance guy coming, we tidied up everything so it didn't look like too much of a construction zone. It has been awhile since it was this clean! I have enjoyed the space. I thought this was a good angle too. I don't think I have showed the radiator that is in the kitchen.

And since I mentioned the insurance guy, a quick update on that. We are good to go! They had nothing to say, no "recommendations" for fixing or anything. Whew! I was a little worried they were going to think it was too much under construction and think I needed special construction insurance. So that is taken care of!


And this kind of gives you a bit of perspective on how cozy the kitchen is. I am standing in the door to the deck. I am giving the black fridge to my brother, but he doesn't have a place for it yet, so it is still in the house.

Plastering  is a pretty easy thing to do in small pieces of time. So that is the one thing that has gotten done! Both holes upstairs in the stairwell and downstairs in the hall are done! I just have to sand a finally time and they should be good. While the trowels were out, I made sure to also get any cracks and nail holes in the rest of the house. So the walls are ready for paint! 
In the picture above, the first or "rough" coat of plaster is on. I have since topped it with two smooth coats of plaster.

And this is now the view from the back deck! 
In the middle of plumbing the bathroom, Mandy I decided we needed a break and decided a bit of bush cutting was just the ticket! If you recall, there was a scrubby walnut tree blocking the view. The deck seems so much larger now too! 

What is next? Painting! And we also have to figure out how to fix the stairs. I am sure that will require a post all it's own!