Monthly Archives: July 2014

Floored

I went on a floor sanding and refinishing bender recently and I am still recovering…

floors-diningroom

…but the dining room and my studio room are now mostly done.

Only four more rooms and three hallways to go – will I or won’t I endure?

floors-half-sanded

floors-studio

We had a guy in the other day to look at something that seemed to be beyond our abilities.  He came somewhat unexpectedly as people are wont to do in this small town which leaves me occasionally on edge since my work (not work, work) clothes are the shrunken bits thrown in the charity bag (I can’t find my stash of work clothes!) and I don’t want to be seen in busty gut-baring teeny t-shirts and sweatpants with burst seems.  We were in the middle of sanding the dining room floor by hand – with little electric sanders, so at least with the aid of some power…  he smirked and said “well you could do it that way, but I’d rent a sander.”

No f*ckingshit you’d rent a sander – most people would.

But floor sanders are big and heavy and use a lot of sandpaper and cost money to rent and we can only do one room at a time since we’re living in the house, so for about $10 worth of sandpaper (and a whole day) I can do it myself.  (And I mostly did it myself since N quickly looses interest/endurance on these sorts of mind-numbing vibrating tedious tasks, and I’m able to call up the genetic reserves of my peasant ancestors from time to time).

And I also like the way it looks.  In our old house, I sanded a few rooms by hand, and a few with a sander – the floors done by hand still looked old in a good way – they had more depth and patina and character.  The ones done with a sander looked 1,000 times better what they had (and a heavy grind down really was necessary) but they were a little too clean and bright even though I matched the stain with the old.

I also chose to use a hard oil wax product on these floors instead of polyurethane.

floors-hardoil-wax

That one gets another smirk from the work guys – “you could use that, but nothing wears like poly!”  But poly looks a little bit like wood in plastic coating and I wanted something a little more rich and velvety.  Again in the old house we used poly – the oil based stuff so it would take on a bit of an ageing amber tone – and I liked it, but after four or five years I was finding a few flakes and scratches and I was able to repair a few areas, but I felt sick to think we’d have to go through the whole business of sanding and re-coating the entire floor in a few years.  But I could eat these words since we’ve only had the hard oil wax for a week* and I’ve no idea how it will hold – especially once there’s a four-footed creature about, and dinner parties.  But I should only have to hit the worn areas with a fresh coat every few years instead of the whole sanding down and re-sealing business.  And this stuff doesn’t require buffing like old-timey wax.  So we’ll see.

floors-before-and-after**

You could be wondering how the linoleum  floor patch looks now?

kitchen repaired linoleum

It’s holding up just fine – the rug covers about half of it, but it still gets walked upon plenty.

We’re still looking for new rugs though…

But this linoleum will  certainly not be saved…

floors-bad-linoleum

…and is a tiling project next on the list.

*I coated a few broken steps with it a couple of months ago and so far the test areas have held up well.  And for the record, it’s Fiddes Hard Oil Wax in “American” tint.  I got it online, but it can also be had in a few actual shops in Brooklyn and other hipster places in the states (it’s a British product).  I used two thin coats with a bristle brush and I’m contemplating a third, maybe of clear, in the highest trafficked areas.  It stunk a bit, but much less than the common brands of oil-based stain, and it dried in a few hours, but I waited to put rugs and furniture back in for a few days.

**The colors aren’t right in these pics – the trees around the house are throwing green light into the place, so everything – floors and walls – is a warmer, less yellowish more orangeish tone – I’d call the floors a bit of a warm pecan shade.  And those big black rectangles are naked radiators without their front cover pieces.

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Fried that squash blossom

Good god, this was a long suffering spin.

PRS-zucchini&blossom

And I blathered on so much about it…

Last year, I was thrilled to buy the wool – Pigeonroof Studios superwash merino in “zucchini blossom.”

Pigeon zucchini

I started to spin it.

PRS zucchini

I fantasized about pairing it with other yarn from my stash to become some sturdy socks.

PRS-squashblossom

I realized I spun the first bobbin backwards, so I got irritated and put it away.

I started spinning it again during last year’s Tour de Fleece.

I cut my thumb.

TdF-Wipeout

I blamed the wool and put it away.

I got it out to finally finish for this year’s Tour de Fleece.

PRS-zucchini-TdF2014

I made a three-ply and thought all was fine.

PRS-zucchini-3ply

I ran out of one of my three plies.

PRS-zucchini-not3ply

I am now done.

PRS-zucchiniwashed

I have 258 yards of a heavy fingering/light sport wonky 3ply, and 114 yards of a light fingering/fingering wonky 2ply.

PRS-zucchinitangle

(And we won’t speak of this).

And I’ll shut up about now until I have a finished item from it…

if I ever have one at all…

(Incidentally, I did fry up those blossoms and it was a mushy miserable failure, as are most of my neglected zucchini plants which are lousy with stupid male blooms).

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Feeling peckish…

I hate most fabric marketed to babies, or rather their keepers, since perhaps babies would really just like giant boob prints, but most of it is just pathetic and timid, too cartoonish, sometimes oddly and vaguely religious, too pale and sickly pastel, and just plain ugly (however I do like some vintage baby prints).

But this one caught my eye a bit ago, and I knew about an upcoming wee one that needed a sewn item.

woodpecker-fabric.com

(Michael Miller fabric, pic from fabric.com)

I don’t make many things for babies now – at first I made many things because I only knew one.  Then more people started having them, and then the first one got a sibling, and I couldn’t keep up, or the charm wore off, or they started to blur together in a drooling blob and I couldn’t remember what I’d made and for whom.

(My apologies to all of those second children out there.)

So I whipped up a little quilt for the wall, but it could still be used as a quilt.  I had a grand idea of massive three dimensional applique with crazy depth and perspective, but in the end I kept it simple – a bit of applique birds and leaves and machine quilting.

woodpecker quilt

I had to buy thread again too – you’d think I would have learned from the last time I moved and couldn’t find it…

But the paint is drying in my new studio room at the moment, and next will be a freshly sealed floor (and then it has to become the bedroom for a while while I work on that room) and then I’ll be able to unpack allllllll of my sewing things!  So I see that day not so far off in the distance now.

But back to woodpeckers – I’m a fan of them.

I like their almost jungle-sounding call.

And their rat-tat-tat drilling (as long as it isn’t the house).

And though I don’t like that they damaged our lovely Magnolia, I’m fascinated by the pattern that they made – almost as if the tree had ripped out stitches…

woodpecker damage

…or machine gun fire.

woodpecker damage with moss

Maybe the yard is run by Woodi Peccaroni, the ancient don of the fermented tree sap bootlegging era…

 

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Hot and bothered…

I’m busy and I’ve run out of pre-written or partially composed blog posts, or rather ones that aren’t just one big fatass rant.

It’s been hot and humid and I thought I could deal with it, but it’s been ramped up lately to tip me over into full brain and body stupor.

(The air conditioning in my car is broken and we don’t have any at home yet).

I actually had a bee in my britches a couple of weeks ago and it stung the sh*t outta me.

A bite in the ass does not make one work harder.

I’m sure lighting a fire under it will have the same negative consequence.

Out of some weird mid-life moment, I actually joined Facebook with my real name and it sucks… though I get to bully the old bullies back by choosing not to “friend” them back, but then I feel bad even though they sucked and made me feel like hell in the seventh grade.

The seventh grade is the seventh ring of hell.

I only had about 70 kids in my grade for all 13 years (kindergarten included) and I can’t remember 70% of them.

I’m getting PT for my knee and the place plays this “oldies” station that is the music from my formative record-buying years… it’s kinda freaking me out – too much of my past all at once.

With the near end of the World Cup, I am overjoyed to quit cable television and hope it nestles into its own hell ring.

I’m getting a lot of spam comments on this blog and it’s annoying the piss outta me.

I’m almost finished knitting a medium to largeish-sized project, recently sewed a small project, and thinking about ways to spruce up some ugly hollow sliding closet doors – we’ve got two sets of them…

I also just started to spin a bit for the Tour de Fleece.

PRS-zucchini-TdF2014

I will finish up this disaster from last year.

(One bobbin spun backwards, I cut my thumb while spinning the next, and it’s been picked up and put down too many times to count.)

I also want to spin some other things I didn’t get to last year.

I can’t find those at the moment though…

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Don’t try this at home…

The thing about living in a small town really close to a little impoverished city (but also close to giant rich cities) is that our libraries suck.  I’m originally from a midwestern state which had a very progressive library system and a whooping budget to support it.  When I moved to my old city, it was full of incredibly beautiful library buildings, but so-so collections.  Here?  The buildings suck and the collections are downright pathetic.  (Our town’s library is a nice little old space though).  But that also means books aren’t thrown away or checked out often, so N was able to bring home a mother lode of decorating books from the late 1940s and early 1950s.

I dove in looking for period-appropriate color guidance and decorating ideas for our house of the era.

I’m all for creative re-use and never discarding something until it is truly and utterly useless.

I like old sh*t and prefer to own things that existed before me.

I don’t like fine antiques that need to be minded and not often used in my own living spaces, yet I know not everything belongs in a museum.

But this?

furniture ideas-surgery

Good god, it makes me cringe.

furniture ideas-hack

Maybe I should put it into perspective – I’d gladly hack apart something from the 1980s because to me it isn’t old and there is still plenty of it around…. so that’s probably how someone felt about their 30-year-old furniture in the 1940s.   However most of what we had 30 years ago is total sh*t and made from particle board and other unhackapartable things…

I should pause before I go into a very long-winded rant and sob story about a lovely old apartment I once inhabited with built-in cabinets, a lovely and still perfect deep cast-iron enameled bathtub, and solid and well-patinated hardwood floors only to have it entirely gutted by a new owner who wanted to make it “nice.”  It wasn’t – she made it all beige and full of synthetics and she should have been thrown in some sort of prison for her destruction and wastefulness and lack of any amount of aesthetic sense.

Too many DIYers and paid “designers” are ruining the souls and characters of our old homes.

Our house isn’t that old, it’s from the 1950s, and a style I thought I’d never live in and don’t love, yet I’m keeping the good useful parts as they are, and I’m looking at ideas from the era to keep it from becoming too disjointed from its past (hence my dilemma over the knotty pine paneling)  I feel that the original owner (yes even a phantasmic one) should walk into a home and see some familiar elements.

furniture ideas-distance

I found a few useful tips I could agree with though – I love a close lamp (and you certainly wouldn’t want to singe your yarn…)

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