Saturday, April 22, 2017

The Outdoors Doesn't Like Me

We've been in this house almost...fifteen years. I think?  Yeah, I'm not good at this stuff.  But my office is being moved from the town we live in to a town about twenty miles away.  The main highway is under construction and the drive would go from about ten minutes to about forty.  That's depressing but the job is a good one and a lot less stressful than my previous job.  I've already told my boss she's stuck with me.

However, my husbands job is already about twenty minutes from the house on the south side of town, mine is halfway to his, about ten minutes.  We're hoping in the next couple years we can move to a house closer to his work and ultimately a bit closer to mine. 

To that end, there are some improvements that need to be made in order to give the house more long term curb appeal.  The front yard is... bleh.

So!  This weekend I decided the yard needed to be improved. The lot is sort of a pie wedge shape with a small backyard.  My front yard is fairly large and screwed up.  Flowerbeds either mud or overgrown with grass.  I wish this was a mini yard.  It might take me longer but it would be easier on my back.

Let's get one thing straight.  I don't like annuals.  I don't like to pay a bunch of money for something that'll just die in one season.  So I go for perennials every time.

Just one problem, and this is an irony considering I live in Texas, I've got a yard full of oak trees and it's full of shade.  There are not a lot of shade loving perennials.

So I went to a very nice place called Calloways and bought perennials during my lunch on Friday.  We had a lot of rain Friday night so I didn't feel bad about letting them sit on my porch until this morning.

By the way, I've mentioned that North Texas hates me?  There's nothing quite like being exhausted, aching because digging and raking are not my thing, and having your eyes foggy and watering.  Not to mention an alternately stuffy and drippy nose.  How does that even happen? Aren't those two things contradictory?

But I did get all four flowerbeds finished. At least as much as I could.  I'd like to add a few more plants but that can wait for a while. 

I've also mentioned to screw up my back, but I don't have to do anything in the yard for a while.  And as I'm writing this being inside seems to help my eyes and nose to normalize.  So I'm at my regular level of North Texas hating me.  I'll take it.  It felt like my yard was declaring war.

 The grass on the edge of this bed is actually a decorative grass that gets little purple flowers when it blooms.  It tends to take over and I'm not thrilled with it but I didn't have the energy to get ride of all of it.

This spot got hastas, foxglove and yarrow, with some space for the day lilies to grow in.
The area below is below one of the front windows and was basically a mud pit.  The big bag of dirt built up the bed some and hopefully it'll drain better. 

The stones don't look gorgeous but I'm told ajunca takes over so hopefully the stone will be hidden.  And the stupid weed tree cut down and killed.  And I added some impatiens since they were cheap.
A hasta, some hydrangeas and some petunias.
 I broke my rule about annuals because Home Depot had a sale, four medium pots for ten dollars. So I got eight pots for twenty bucks and each pot had about three plants in it.  So they filled in a few places nicely and added some contrast.

This is near the corner of the driveway and is one of the only spots in the yard that gets full sun, so Shasta Daisies, lavender and...
 Yeah I just blanked out on what the flowers in the middle with the purple stalks are called. 

This was about four and a half hours worth of work, not including hauling and shopping.  I've got some sort of grass that puts down roots and sends out shooters that also take root.  I think its Bermuda grass but I can't be sure.

All I know is that its irritating and clearing that tiny space seemed to take forever.  I really need to get some more soil and add it to the flowerbeds before I bring in any more plants.

That will be far in the future.  The only saving grace of today was that it was only in the mid sixties today and I didn't get heatstroke.

Maybe tomorrow I'll have the energy to get back to minis.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Staining the Built Ins

Happy Easter everyone! 

Hope everybody is having a good weekend.  I had Friday off but I was lazy and went and got my nails done instead.

Yesterday and today I worked on my built ins some more.  I did my bricks for the hearth and the back of the fireplace.  I did inch long bricks and about a third of an inch wide because I wanted them to look a little more substantial than regular bricks.

I didn't want to paint the bricks until I had the wood stained so I got that done today.  I used the Rustolium American Walnut stain and so far I like how it looks.  Once everything is dry I'll add some poly and then work on the bricks.

I'm not sure about the color for the bricks, but I'm thinking a brownish red?

But here's what I've got so far.

I did the window seat built in as well. 

My only issue with the stain is that the bronze handles and knobs I bought might blend right in.

The other project I worked on is a cabinet for my farmhouse sink.  I love this style sink and I can't have one in my real house.  But I have to make a custom cabinet in order to use it.  It's a little rough right now but it'll work once I get it polished up.

And that is the extent of my accomplishments for the weekend.

I also got to see Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them and Patriots Day.  My husband also brought home Rogue One but we haven't watched it yet.  From what I've heard of the movie I'm not sure I want to. 

Hope everyone else is having a great weekend.  Talk to you soon!

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Not Much Progress...

...Because Boots 'n' Shoots.

For all those who are not from the DFW area, Boots 'n' Shoots up here is a charity event to benefit our military veterans.  The restaurants I work for are really involved in it and provides the meals for the skeet shooting day as well as other things like volunteers from our restaurants and accounting office.

This year I got to go and help on Thursday.  The shooting portion I volunteered for took place at the Dallas Gun Club.  It was a really fun, if exhausting, day.  I got to meet some wonderful people, learned a lot about how to call skeet shooting scores and remembered that I'm over forty and not used to spending nine plus hours on my feet.  I was at a station with two of the waitresses from our Arlington Babes and they were fresh as daisies at the end of the day while I was ready to fall over.  Oh to be twenty again.  Or at least have my twenty year old body again.  I worked in food service back then and standing for twelve hours was just what I did.  Of course I also weighed about a hundred pounds less.

I only got a little bit sun-burned and when I got home I didn't do anything for the rest of the day.  I barely got up on time for work on Friday.  I feel like I'm still recuperating today.  So I'm going to dye my hair, relax and plan for my three day weekend coming up.

Hope everyone else has had a great and productive weekend!

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Window Openings

So just to give you folks a laugh I took some pictures of my new window openings. 

I started out by drilling holes at each corner of my opening and then used a very narrow handsaw to cut through the MDF.

You know how people say they can't cut a straight line?  I'm one of those people.  With a scissors I can usually follow a drawn line at least.  With a handsaw?  No.  Not a chance.

The good news is that when I put the windows in they line up nice and square and the goofy holes are hidden by the trim.  And I don't need to cut any more holes.  Yay! 

The fireplace will be centered between the two smaller windows and the built ins will be just below them.  The larger window is just inside the bathroom.  I'd gotten a bunch of that size in a lot on Ebay.  I've got some of the plastic 'water' that I'll put in the windows so no one can see in.

For the exterior I've got my stone for the wainscoting.  My plan is to take the Grey/Brown Cut Stone Veneers and mix them with the Brown and the Grey.  So I have a mix of all three colors.



Then I'll have clapboard for the upper portions of the house.  I have no idea what color to paint it though.  Most of the Craftsman Houses I've seen that have stone wainscoting tend to be a khaki green.  I'm not too sure about that.  I'd like to find something in a dusty turquoise, pale with brown undertones maybe?  To reflect some of the tile on the inside.  And cream colored trim. 

The chimney is my other concern.  Not sure if I want to use the same patterns of stone for it.  Colors yeah, but maybe in fieldstone shapes?  Something to think about.

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Score! My Loot Has Arrived!

I'd like to start by saying that Brae is bad for my wallet.

You see, she makes these great miniatures and does these awesome shows that are ONLINE and thus accessible to someone like me who does not go places.  So when she posted about The March Miniature Show I had to go and look.

Yeah... so I did more than look.  But I got some awesome stuff.  Things that I wouldn't have the first clue about making.

From Taffy and Me Creations I got some really cute modern shelf kits.  And a couple of wall art frame/kits.  I think one of these might end up in the Craftsman Tiny House and a couple may go into the Downtown Loft.

Sorry about the glare. I could not seem to get this to behave.

Wendy's Miniatures was another place with some gorgeous things and I got a couple of cloisonné boxes and two little statues for shelves in some lucky house yet to be determined.

And from Bee Tree Miniatures I got the sweetest little terrariums and a beautiful orchid, plus an adorable bonus daffodil.  Thank you Pim!

I also went on Etsy for some gorgeous turned jars and bowls from The Helmers.  I was having  major trouble showing all the details so I cheated and copied the photos from their site. 

I'm set the fireplace aside for now since I'm waiting on some corbels to support the mantel.  Planning on making more cabinets and I ordered a few more just in case. 

I'm at the point where I need to figure out how I'm going to hinge the back wall anyway.  But I also need to cut in some holes for extra windows on either side of the fireplace and one for the bathroom.  Plus the door I'm using is slightly smaller than the kit door so I need to fill in the gaps as well.

The tricky part was placement.  I had everything all draw out for the windows and realized that the upper openings of the standard kit windows were all on the same horizon.  I want the same for my added windows.  Erasing pencil and redrawing took a bit but I'm nearly good to go.

I figure I'll trace where the walls meet the floor to get a good idea of my floor space and make the window placements with tape or colors.  Then I can take the whole thing apart.

I do all that and I can start working on the outside of the house.

So far my biggest problem is figuring out where I want the stair case.  Maybe on the opposite side of the bathroom's back wall.  My other option is a ladder.  I'm still thinking on that.

Hope everyone else is having fun this weekend!

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Ever Have One Of Those Months?

I have this thing... I like to sort of plan things out.  And if I'm real ambitious draw them or bash something into making them happen.  But every now and then something stalls me and I get a bit paralyzed trying to figure out what to do and how to make something happen.  I have so much information I can't decide because I worry about making the wrong choice.

The month of March was kinda like that.

It didn't help that my husband and I are setting a new household record for sinus problems.  An issue which has not abated one darn bit.  (Thank you North Texas, I hate you right back.)  And I spent most of my time on the couch looking at pictures of what I want to do.  I had no energy and when I did start thinking of my build my brain went in so many directions I immediately got overwhelmed and sat back down on the couch to think some more.

March has not been a productive month to say the very least.  I don't think I like March anymore.

But this weekend I finally decided I was going to do something, even if I ended up trashing it and starting over.  I had to do something

So I started working on the fireplace.  And I was pleasantly surprised to have it going well.  So I started on the built ins on either side.  One of them has to fit up against the window seat cabinets and the other has to fit against the bathroom wall. 

After a few miscalculations I got something working.  Obviously the fireplace isn't finished yet. I need to add another beam with some detail above the tile and just under the mantle.  I also have to finish the hearth, build and finish the chimney and back of the fireplace but I'm feeling pretty pleased with how it looks so far.

I need to add some grout to my tiles too.  They're a little wonky looking now just glued in and need some grout to even out the top and fill in the holes.
The mantle isn't glued in place either.

Obviously still some work to do, but here's how the window seat built ins will fit up against the side of the fireplace shelves.  I want to find or make some long fireplace matches in a fancy box to go in that tall skinny space.

I'm planning on staining the woodwork a nice oak or a golden cherry. Not sure yet.  But I'll paint the storage containers in complimentary colors rather than leave them stark white.

I still need to glue everything into place and then it'll sit for a bit while I figure out how to hinge the wall.  I'll put in flooring and then glue the bench into place.   

I'm curious as to whether or not I should do a hanging barn style door or a pocket door to the bathroom.  I don't want a standard hinged door because it'll take up a lot of space.

At least I made some progress this weekend.  How are the rest of you doing?

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Building Built Ins

Okay...unintentional alliteration there...

I think I mentioned that I want build ins for my Craftsman Tiny House.  So last weekend and this one I started on building them.

My idea was that instead of having a couch, to build a window seat under the picture window in front.  So I microwaved some hutches I got cheap at Hobby Lobby and took them apart, and built a cabinet for them to sit on.  I'm planning on putting some stereo equipment in them.  Some records underneath them.

But it's been a two week process of gluing and waiting. Glue and wait. 

I'm debating about staining or painting, not sure yet.  But I'm pretty pleased with how it's turned out so far.  The cabinet doors still need hardware but that'll wait until after I get it finished.

I've also been slowly putting the kitchen cabinets together. 

It's slow going but I'm making some progress.  And I tested out the bathroom placement again.

I think it'll work.  I'm debating on a pocket door for it.  I think it would be a nice space saver.

So, not a lot of major progress but before I starting working on light placement or gluing things to the walls I want to figure out my interior space.  I'm trying to relax on this one a bit. 

How is everyone else doing?

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Adding Height & Getting Boxed In

Well I've spent a good portion of my time researching how to measure and build stairs.  Wow.  Makes me realize there's way too much math in architecture and design. 

And I'm still not entirely sold on stairs vs a ladder so I'm keeping my options open.  This is what I'd like to do if I do stairs.

My drawing isn't the best but I want cubby holes at the bottom for baskets and cabinets above them.

I decided that while I'm working on the layout I might as well go ahead and add my three inches of height to the walls.  So I did that and did another dry fit.  So far so good I think.

That gives me a loft with a six foot ceiling.  Not super tall but better than three feet and not being able to stand up at all.

I also tried out some flooring...not sure about it.  I'm thinking I might want to do some wider planks, maybe use tongue depressor sticks with some stain. 

Here's a few pictures of one possible layout.

I noticed that I keep automatically moving the bathroom to the back corner near the smaller window.  I think because when Fran put the kit together for the pictures that was where she put the bathroom.  In a way it makes sense there.

But if you close it in, you either need removable walls or you just don't see the bathroom.  Neither of which I'm thrilled with.  And that smaller window is really perfect for fitting a kitchen counter under.  So having the kitchen in that back corner would really be a good fit.

Plus, while I was contemplating cutting the back side wall and hinging part of it.  Along this line here:

yeah I drew it crooked. Can't draw a straight line to save my life.
It leads to more problems with hinges, making sure the outer finishes work properly... It just feels like a headache and I'm not sure I want to deal with it or not yet. 

So I'm considering another location for the bathroom.  Like here:

If I extend the loft all the way to the back wall, put the bathroom there, we see it and have access to it.  And it's not so wide that I can't see the kitchen behind it.  Plus if I do removable walls, they're a lot easier to access than under the flat roof.

And this space just looks right to me for a kitchen.  Good expanse of wall, small window in the corner, so you've got space for uppers and lowers.  Sink under the window maybe?

And possibly a little banquet under the larger front window near the door, with a work desk near the second large window next to the small one.  Or make that second window smaller to match and extend the counters all the way around  with a little island?

More stuff to think about and fuss with.  With the bathroom walls there getting camera shots could be difficult unless I take a page from Keli's book and make the picture window removable.

It does leave me with the issue of getting light to the bathroom.  I thought about doing glass brick for an interior wall, but I'm not sure how that would blend with the whole craftsman look I really want.  More research needed.

Still thinking about that one.  But here's a look at the front door.  I think I like it.

I'm thinking the picture window needs some wood detailing, to give it more of a craftsman feel.  I'm also really disliking that flat roof.  The homeowner in me just screams that its water damage waiting to happen.  The only flat roofs I've seen on are apartment buildings and have tar on them.

So not sure what to do there.  More thinking.

What are all of you up to this weekend?