Friday, November 16, 2018

Progress Report Week 20: Shellac and Floors

This week I have spent a lot of time on y hands and knees scrubbing floors! But all that work is beginning to pay off, look how good the floors look! This is the back bedroom and it had a six inch wide swath of some sort of carpet glue stuck to the floor. A little elbow grease and denatured alcohol and wa-la!

The front bedroom has already been scrubbed and is waiting for a new coat (or two!) of shellac.

I ordered 5 lbs. of shellac "buttons" from shellac.net. Hopefully it will be enough! The buttons are kind of fun to handle. I weighed them out into 1/2 lb. baggies to make is easier to mix up a batch. You can mix the shellac and denatured alcohol in varying strengths, but a 1/2 lb. shellac to 1 quart alcohol is a standard starting point. The shellac will have to soak for 24-36 hours until completely dissolved. I am not sure if we will be ready to apply it this weekend, but I thought I would get a head start just in case!

 I just started washing down the middle bedroom and as you can see, it is in pretty rough shape!

One corner done! You can see the difference though; on the right- freshly scrubbed, left-unwashed. I use a scot-brite sponge with the green scrubby back and a small scraper for the thicker paint splatters (and the carpet glue!). 

 Other exciting progress, is the kitchen cabinet hardware! Mandy and I decided to give it a go last night. Love how nice it makes the cabinets look! (If you ever decide to add cabinet hardware, a template makes the hole drilling process go super fast! We used a piece of cardboard with the hole spacing marked on it, then we would line it up with the edge of the cupboard and drill.)

We also got the kitchen sink drain plumbed in! And doesn't the kitchen look immensely better with the white fridge? 

Friday, November 9, 2018

Progress Report Week 19: Floors and Snow

 We got our first snow this morning. Everything is covered in a fresh sparkly layer. I love how cozy houses look in the snow! Mandy and I stopped at the Brick House for a few photos on our way back from the hardware store (gathering a few more plumbing supplies).

 Aren't the trees gorgeous!

 This week has been a bit slower, still getting our energy back from all the festivies with the sister and nephews here. Plus the time change doesn't help, that always throws me off. I did get a good start by finishing off the painting on the last three windows Monday and on Tuesday got the front of the closet doors painted.

I have also been working on the floors. Instead of sanding and re-finishing them, I decided to rejuvenate them. First I am washing the floors down with denatured alcohol, then I will apply a couple of fresh coats of shellac. So far they are looking really good! This is the front bedroom freshly washed down with denatured alcohol.

The Brick House has hydronic heat (did I mention that before?). I love all the old radiators! This is a new type of heating for me, so I have been getting a crash course in boiler and radiator care. Did you know if a radiator is hot on the bottom, but cold on top it has air in it and needs to be bled? I now need to figure out how to fix one that is hot on top, but cold on bottom. From what I am finding out it might be sludge build up.

 Looking down into the back yard from the back bedroom. 


I love these shiny hooks all in a row! They were actually on the other wall in the entry, but that looked like an accident waiting to happen as the glass door opened against, so I moved them over here. The perfect place to hang coats!

Monday, November 5, 2018

Happy Annivarsary Little House!

Yesterday was a quintessential November day in southeast Wisconsin. Rainy, windy, gloomy. Leaves and rain whirling and swooshing. I enjoyed it! I don't think Mandy was quite as enthusiastic as she is suffering from a head cold right now. Kerri and I had fun though; feeling the wind in our faces, admiring the brilliant leaves against the dreary background (at lest I was! Kerri was just enjoying the plethora of good smells.)

 Last week was a bit chaotic as our sister and two nephews descended on us. It was late night spent chatting and busy days playing with kids. I did manage to seek in a couple of mornings painting windows at the Brick House, but other then that progress was at a standstill. But kids grow so fast, I couldn't miss an opportunity to snuggle the newest two month old nephew or read stories with the four year old. So fun!

 I can't believe we are already on to November! 
The end of October is the house anniversary of my cottage. I usually do a Have-Done-List post, but this year with working on Brick House and starting to run out of projects on the cottage I didn't really do anything. It feels a little weird to say that.....

 It always amazes me how far this little cottage has come! It has taught me so much! Not just how to do practical things, but how to get the job done, time management, make quicker decisions and that I can do anything I put my mind to!
I love remembering all the stages and progress. Want to remember with me?

All posts about the little house. (You can also go room by room using the tags on the right.)

Previous years Have-Done-Lists 

Happy Anniversary Little House!

And Happy November friends!

Saturday, October 27, 2018

New Bathroom Lights

In shopping around for the Brick House, I came across the perfect bathroom scones for my cottage! Five years ago when we moved into the cottage I couldn't find anything I liked that fit my budget. I really wanted something vintage, but they were all to expensive. Plus I wasn't totally sure what I really wanted in here.

 So when I spotted these scones on Amazon and saw the ribbed glass shades, I knew it was time to update the bathroom a bit! (This was actually the second try. The first one had little halogen bulbs which we didn't like the look of.)


 It was the shades that caught my eye. Don't they look rather vintage? I decided to try the lights pointing down instead of up. This way the light shines down where it is needed. 
It is amazing how many more antique/vintage styles are available versus five years ago!


This little hoya must love humidity! He is sure happy here. We love spotting new leaflets as they sprout!

Not much has really changed. It is still a cozy little white bathroom!

Thursday, October 25, 2018

Progress Report Week 16 & 17: Grass, Countertops and Paint

I hadn't realized I took no pictures last week. It was a rather aggravating week and I think I was just trying to survive so we could move on to a new week!
Anyway, the progress that didn't happen last week and the projects that didn't get finished got done this week! So I am happy.
One of the most aggravating projects was removing the giant burning bush in the front flower bed. I wished I could of saved it, but there wasn't anyway I could dig it up without harming it's roots. I chipped and chipped away at it. (The brother's truck was done or I would have had him come over and just pull it out.) Finally on Monday Mandy and I got it out! So now it is seeded with grass and will be part of the lawn. It looks a little empty to me, but so much easier to back out of the driveway!

 Mandy has been working really hard painting walls and ceilings. She is the master roller and I cut in and paint the trim. It really goes fast once we start, but a whole house takes a bit of time! I just have touch ups to do around the windows, the radiator in the kitchen and a few stubborn stains. It is always amazing what fresh paint does for a house! So clean and bright now!


 In case anyone is interested and for my future reference, all the walls are painted Valspar Cozy White #3008-10C. It is a really lovely color. Just a hint of yellow to warm it and make is look sun kissed.

This not-so-good picture is the only one I could find of the new counter tops! Such a huge difference! The old counter tops were aging the whole kitchen. It looks really good now as we have re-installed the sink! 
We are getting down there on the list! Hopefully, just a few more weeks and the Brick House will be done! Thankfully, I don't have renters anxiously breathing down my neck yet......

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!