Making a Planter Out of a Crock

20150124_133529My parents collected antique crocks – the genuine non-reproductions, the really heavy ones you don’t know what to do with, yet fear them breaking. I have one in each finished room as a waste paper receptacle, but when I needed a little something to go beside an occasional chair in the library and found myself with one too many crocks, I decided to steal things from my house to put together a planter. These babies are heavy and breakable, and I was going to be working with plants and soil, so I used my go-to gloves: Tuff Chix work gloves from SafetyGirl.20150124_133558

I  believe in upcycling so I walked around the house to see what I had, that I could use. It’s like a miniature treasure  hunt. I had a few cuttings in plain pots by the kitchen sink. I had a spider plant gone wild in the soil of a floor plant. I had some raffia left over from a sympathy basket. I had a plastic kitchen container whose lid hasn’t been seen since the crocks were new, I’m sure.  I placed the kitchenware upside down in the bottom of the crock to raise the level of the plants, then set the pots inside. Using tumblers filled with water, I took rooted shoots from the spider plant, and set those around the edges. I topped the whole thing off with the raffia, to hide the plastic pots. 20150124_135731

Repurposing a Lamp

This weekend I had to wrap up the library to a point, in order to make room for the sofa delivery today. I was able to put enough paint on the general vicinity of the walls in the evenings last week that one final coat and some touch ups Saturday in broad daylight was good. Our 12-pk of polyurethane gloves and disposable coveralls have suited me well on this room, where I could put on a glove and smock, paint a bit, and save it all to pick up where I left off the next night.

20150108_19235120150108_193246The hanging lamp my mother wanted and traded me for the horrible plastic green one left in her apartment, I decided to use the leaded glass shade my dad had on a lamp that was throwing sparks. I had thrown the lamp away but saved the shade, evidently just for this purpose. I broke off the plastic green shade and simply slid the antique shade over the chain and cord, with nice results. For working with the glass and plastic, I used our more durable Tough Chix gloves. I really do love these gloves. They fit well, look great, allow my hands to breathe, and protect like nothing else. Priced less than $20, it’s no wonder they have a five-star rating!

You can see how the walls are shaping up in the background of these photos.

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Saturday I dropped my car off at the local shop for its biannual oil change (!) and while I was waiting, I went shopping in the plaza. I found this great wall decal for a buck. I couldn’t pass it up.

I placed my furniture about where it will go, leaving the space for my new loveseat. I also have a rug and TV stand on order. All of that should arrive this week. In my free time I will work on polishing the floors; I am not sure of the best way to clean and shine them yet. I’ll report on that next week.

My new furniture was my splurge for these two rooms, the living room and the library. Aside from those, my total cost was $80 for these twin rooms. With those, I have about $800 in them. Higher than my budget but the only new furniture I am purchasing so I am just grinning and bearing the credit card bill.

 

 

Wallpaper Short

20141206_181614I’m starting to strip the wallpaper in the “twin” room to the living room – the library. And since everything I do in this room is similar to the last, I won’t bore you with the details. I will, however, give  a nod to the disposable gloves that make stripping the wall paper so much cleaner.

This weekend, after heading to the city for window shopping with Andy and Gracie, I stripped wallpaper when I could, and got most of the room done. The reality of Christmas came down hard this morning, with a huge list of things left to accomplish and so very few days! I hope everyone is having a joyous season!

It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas

20141129_20392320140719_132720Over the weekend I scrubbed the house and put up the tree (to the left, to the left, doesn’t it look great!?). I promised myself I would not start a new project yet, but I had a spare hour on Sunday between church and my mom’s apartment Christmas party. So I donned the disposable coveralls, disposable face mask, and started stripping wallpaper from what will be my library. I know, it’s an obsession!

This room is the twin to the living room, and I will simply be stripping wallpaper, painting the walls and trim in the same colors as the living room, and polishing the floors. You can see the before photos here. I may need to purchase some furniture for this one. Aside from that, this room should not cost me anything additional. I’ll go through the steps with you here, though.

I will be using the coveralls, the knee pads (when I go over each parquet square, the sticky pads really save my middle-age knees!), our Purdy rollers and Merit Pro paint brushes (still going strong!), and disposable gloves for painting.20140719_132736

Stripping wood and wallpaper

20140719_132759 N20141109_195138ovember was the month to start my dining room. I am a little late on the draw. This should be an easy room and after I am done with this, I will probably take a break to clean and decorate for the holidays. Probably. We’ll see. Friday I removed the carpet and padding from the hardwood parquet floors and oiled the wood wainscoting.

This weekend Andy had another hockey event and I was alone most of the time, so I had plenty of time to get stuff done on Saturday. This wallpaper stripped very well over most of the room. I used some liquid stripper, my paper tiger on the tough spots, and a scraper. From our stores, I used the disposable smock to keep the glue off of me when the paper came down and the disposable face mask for the dust and paper crumbs.

There is a ledge between the kitchen and dining room, that my dad repainted and repainted, using latex paint and not sanding or priming – so it was coming off in sheets. I got paint stripper and stripped the worst of the paint buildup all around. When I did this, I used the half mask respirator, for the fumes, and the thicker poly disposable gloves. I will oil and polish this and leave the wood bare.

Andy brought Gracie by for the first time, during a quick break in his weekend. She helped me choose colors for the trim and wall, which I bought the next day, and played some Christmas carols for us while we sat on the sofa in the room I had just finished.

20141108_15063320141108_104724Sunday I removed the cracking putty my dad used to add a pane of glass to the single panes in this room, then carefully pulled the glass out, to clean between the two. I will paint these window frames also. I removed the shutters. They are quaint and have been part of the house for as long as we owned it, but they are only decorative and keep the already-sparse light out of the room. These windows are high, small, and face a patch of woods between me and the closest neighbor, so I feel comfortable with them being bare.

I still need to finish deglossing all of the paint and finishing the last of the stripping, then I will be ready to patch, prime and paint!

You can see the room before, and then some of the work I did this weekend.

So far, the cost of this room is about $80 for paint and chemicals.

Laying Carpeting: Part 2 of 2

Here we are, already mid November. I had hoped to finish this room before the end of October. I had to be careful with the carpet, as it required one seam and there is a pattern. I made sure I measured twice and had a sharp blade on my cutting knife.

20140719_13265120141102_111441If you plan to lay your own carpet, this is a really helpful link: http://www.diynetwork.com/how-to/how-to-install-carpet/index.html  I was pleased to find out that my plan of laying the padding perpendicular to the orientation of the carpet was spot on. However, I had not thought to staple the pad’s seam, so I am glad that I read this tutorial first.

To cut and lay the actual rug, you measure the room at its longest point and add 3”. Take the carpet to a larger area (if possible) and notch the back at both sides at that length+3” point. With any luck, you will have help with this part. Roll the carpet back up with the backing facing out, and mark the point with the notches. Finish rolling, and take the carpet back inside. Roll it out flat and cut it to fit, again leaving about 3” extra next to the walls. If there are seams, make sure they are straight, put down a piece of seaming tape, heat the tape, and press the carpet seam into the tape. Place heavy objects on the seam as the glue dries. Seams should run parallel to the room’s main light source, with pile for both pieces headed in the same direction.

20141102_11150220140719_132626Now start with one end of the room and attach the carpet to the tack strip. Work one side.  Trim excess with a wall trimmer and then a stair tool to press cut edges under the baseboard trim. Stretch and attach to the strips at the opposite end of the room. Do the same for the two other sides. Sounds easy, looks easy, right? I rolled up my sleeves.

I immediately succeeded in wedging the carpeting in another room and being unable to move it, when I was trying to cut it. I called Andy and he came over the next day to help me with that. Then we took it to the sitting room (new room) and unrolled it. Since it had a repeating design (what was I thinking?!?) we had to make sure it was straight. That took some lifting and shifting. After we had it positioned, I stretched, tacked, and wedged, while Andy laid on the carpet (pressing out the wrinkles) and drank coffee (supervised). What a lucky girl I am! I am glad I had the knee pads, because without them I probably would not be able to walk today.

20141101_165134The seam was tricky, and you are to make sure the nap of the fabric is the same for each piece of carpet, which I didn’t do, because my remnant wasn’t big enough. But I did make sure the carpet was cut at the same part in the pattern both sides of the seam. I did a good job there. I think as soon as I have more money and time, I will replace that small extra piece of carpet with the same vinyl plank flooring I want to put in the bathroom upstairs, so that carpet and its seam will go.

Andy left to take Lucy to hockey while I finished up, while Grace   volunteered at the library. I am going to attach before and after photos of the entire room here so you can oooh and aaah! Next week I will start on what will be my living room. I will remove the carpet and wallpaper, polish the wood floor, strip the wood trim, and paint the upper walls. I will feature the half-mask respirator as well as poly gloves, and ToughChix gloves. I will again be using the paint brush and rollers from Construction Gear.

Laying Padding: Part one of carpeting

20141005_071952So here I am, taking longer on this room than I expected. Finally, I was ready for the carpet and padding! The carpet and padding have been laying in my dining room for a couple weeks.  I had laid carpet only once in my life, and that very poorly. 20141005_071630I had no stretcher or experience. I did, however, have the nail strips laid from my dad and an uncle as amazing as my dad. While I was waiting for delivery of the new rug, I cut the old carpet into the 18” lengths my garbage service requires, and used duct tape to hold the rolls. For this task I used SafetyGirl’s Tough Chix gloves. They were incredible. They weren’t thick or bulky but they protected my hands very well from the abrasive carpet backing. You can see them here, as well as the sticky knee pads. I also removed the old padding, then vacuumed the underlayment thoroughly. Just for good measure, I went over it with a damp rag. I bridged gaps in the plywood with masking tape and laid the padding out carefully. This came in a roll from BigBox and there was plenty for two rooms (re: plenty for me to make mistakes!).

My Uncle had my grandfather’s knee kicker and he lent it to me for when I did my carpet. I stopped out at his house Tuesday to get it, and his wife had her foot in a cast boot. He laughed and said he was going to get her another boot, put a bolt in her neck and a scar on her forehead and she’d be ready for Halloween! Such is the humor in our family.20141030_185019

Thursday night my friend JD wanted to catch up again over coffee, so I took an hour out to do that. He had old high school photos, which were a lot of fun. I wanted Andy to join us but he was waiting for his girls – Lucy was at cross country practice, while Grace was volunteering at the local library.

20141030_183558Before I left for coffee, I got most of the padding laid, which impressed me. I rolled it out horizontally, with three seams across the room, then tacked the edges of each. I used duct tape again to cover the tacks and connecting seams on the padding and called it good. Finally, something that didn’t fight me all the way! Maybe I can actually get the carpet laid myself. I guess we’ll find out together next week.

New Biohazard Gear Kit Now Available from Online Stores, Inc.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

New Biohazard Gear Kit Now Available from Online Stores, Inc.

biohazard-kit-subNew Stanton, PA – 28 October 2014 – Responding to widespread concern about proper protection against viral outbreaks, Discount Safety Gear, a subsidiary of Online Stores, has produced a biohazard Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) kit and public service video on how to put on and remove the gear to avoid contamination. The kit consists of all the pieces for medium-level protection against hazardous materials. It can be purchased here.

This 6-item kit contains a box of nitrile gloves (2 pr), chemical protective hooded coverall, goggles, N95 respirators (box of 20), bionic face shield, and full length heavy gloves. Priced at $55.99, the PPE kit is positioned to be affordable for most, during recent health concerns. The components were carefully chosen to provide maximum benefit for the typical citizen, with consideration given to comfort, flexibility, breathability, and impermeability.

The accompanying video, culled from best practices, is a brief but through walk-through of how to safely suit up and remove the equipment. It can be viewed here.

Online Stores, Inc. (www.OnlineStores.com), is a privately held American e-commerce business and a top 500 retailer, based in New Stanton, PA. The company operates several web sites including Onlinestores.com, EnglishTeaStore.com, SafetyGirl.com, ConstructionGear.com, Toysplash.com, United-States-Flag.com and DiscountsafetyGear.com. Online Stores serves over 500,000 customers every year.

Contact:

Kevin Hickey

kevin@onlinestores.com

1000 Westinghouse Drive, Suite 1

New Stanton, PA 15672

724-925-5627

www.onlinestores.com

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240 words

New Name for an Old Room

20140719_132630I thought the laundry room would be the most disgusting room, but when I moved to the New Room, I saw I was wrong. Apparently the entire house is going to be a surprise like this. My parents had 3 birds and there were peanut shells and bird food under every single piece of furniture I moved in this room.

20140719_132626As I mentioned in the introduction to this year-long project, Daddy enclosed the porch after about 3-5 years and we started calling this the “new room.” It’s been probably 35-40 years being new. Over the years it’s been a TV room, craft room, office. It was the room in which Daddy spent his last month, and died peacefully in his mother’s chair. It’s really not a new room anymore. I plan to move my piano in here, as well as a table that can be used for crafting or surplus guests for a holiday. Would it be a parlour? Does anyone have any suggestions on its new name?

In this room, my tasks are removing the furniture and cleaning the room out, removing two coats of wallpaper that have been on the walls for probably 30 years, painting the wainscoting and chair rail, rag rolling the walls, adding trim, replacing the carpet and padding, and then decorating. I would like to give this room a new name (finally) but I’m not sure what that should be. I would also like to give this room a contemporary and elegant look. The carpet I got as a remnant the other weekend20140719_132651, in a subtle taupe. I need to mottle the walls with a combination of silver, beige, and white, to tie all the colors together. Right now the colors are a tealy-mint green under taped-on industrial grey carpet, and the latest pass of wallpaper is about 15 years old.

I’ve been using the sticky knee pads, gloves, respirator, and coveralls faithfully, and I like the products. But you probably would like to hear about some different ones, so I will dig back into my box of goodies. I’ll use the disposable face mask for patching the walls when I sand them and be sure I have the First Aid Kit on hand.

To get started on this room, I tried to clean it out of furniture. The local AmVets are getting the entertainment system and bookcases that I am getting rid of – unless they are too big to take. If that’s the case, I suppose they are just going to sit in my car port for awhile. I started randomly pulling wallpaper off the wall (and some of it is coming off very well!). I picked up paint chips and a paper tiger at my local BigBox. My dad had a comprehensive collection of railroad lanterns that he kept in this room, so my first task this week is to unscrew all of the old hooks that held his collection and continue cleaning enough so there is room to work and start to methodically use that paper tiger on the walls.

Until we meet again…

Fixtures and Finishing Touches

This blog’s focus, two little words: install. lighting. Cost: $50. Total cost for the bathroom: slightly under $200 with some leftover materials for the next room.

20140824_161002My weekend started early; Thursday night Andy was busy with the girls and a friend chatted me to see if I was ok. JD was in our circle of friends in high school and we reconnected right when my slide down the slope of divorce, death, and job changing started. He checks in every once in awhile via text just to see if I am alright. I told him I was, but he insisted on stopping over just to make sure. At that point I was in my PJs and had found a leak in the bathroom plumbing. I tried to deter him but I suppose when some people care about you, it’s a good thing. I changed back into clothes and let Andy know I’d be visiting for awhile during our regular phone time. JD and I decided the marine sealant I used on the flooring was good for the leak – it was in the sink drain and all parts were secure except one soldered vertical piece. We sat in the midst of my disastrous house and caught each other up on the last few months.

Even a surprise visit from an old friend can’t stop the inevitable. The bathroom called. I was lucky enough to find some brushed nickel wall sconces at a reasonable price at BigBox but finding the help during daylight hours was the challenge, thus they are last. I am decent at wiring; once you recognize that the wiring either works or it doesn’t, and as long as you don’t use your body as a conductor, it is safe. Andy came over Saturday with tools and equipment, to knock it out with me.

20140824_171619If you know my dad, you know that no project is standard. He loved to create from found objects and scrap, and for the bathroom wiring, apparently he used salvaged industrial wire that had four strands. So not only did we have an extra strand to cap off, but what was coming from the wall was as unmoving as the rock of Gibraltar and barely fit in the box. Additionally, he somehow tied the ceiling fixture in to the left sconce wiring, so there were an extra full set of wires. We did not get the lights up Saturday.

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Left, Before

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Left, After

Andy came back Sunday with more tools and equipment, and after another 2 ½ hours, roll of electrical tape, and 17 different types of pliers, we got them up. Something is loose somewhere in the wall that if the lights aren’t a certain way, they don’t work. Or one of them does. They look beautiful, however, and Sunday night I finally got, and left them, positioned to both work. Monday morning, neither of them turned on. At least I got up early enough to spend 15 minutes wiggling them around so I could light my morning. I finally got them positioned properly and hope no well-intended OCD guest tries to helpfully straighten them that last millimeter.

I am including before and after pics just because it’s so satisfying!

Coming up will be my “gimme” week. I will sit back, enjoy a more open flow in this tiny space, and add the fun stuff: roll the towels and add the accoutrements. When we talk again, you will find me starting to tackle the laundry room, which is the most disgusting room in the house. It is next because it is how all of the visitors enter the house and I really need to be glad when people arrive, rather than cringe. Even though this room is also small and has no wallpaper, I know better than to call this job “easy.” I will be cleaning it out, cleaning it, and repainting ceiling, walls, and floor. Sounds simple, right? Hah! Five tasks, five weeks. I suspect that my one-year deadline for the whole house will not be met.

I will be featuring the pink hard hat but using the disposable gloves, knee pads, and coveralls, as well.

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Right, Before

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Right, After

~BS