Cutting in the Library Chair Rail

20150105_194931The holidays are winding down, and inventory here at SafetyGirl, Construction Gear, and Discount Safety Gear is out of the way. Life as we know it will soon resume. Sunday I had about an hour and a half to continue cutting in the chair rail. Because the walls were not primed for the wallpaper, they are sucking up the paint like a sponge. I have three coats of this tedious work and haven’t even gone all the way around the room yet. I am guessing it will take about ten hours to paint the room. Because our paintbrushes are so precise, I am working carefully without masking tape between the wall and chair rail – it will take less effort and give me better results than trying to correct the bleeding caused by the masking tape. I will also be using our paint rollers. I love that they are so durable I can give them a good scrubbing and set them aside to use in another room or two. My previous experience with rollers is that they fall apart when you try to clean them.

Tip: when you are in the middle of a paint project and have to stop, wrap the brush or roller complete with handle in a plastic grocery bag or plastic wrap, and put the whole wad in the refrigerator until you can get back to it.

20150104_123946My mother decided her apartment would look great with the tiffany-style light my dad fashioned himself, so I met her Sunday afternoon to bring her the lamp and take the pendant light the previous tenants had left, for my use until I can get the one I want.  I also wanted to get her a fleece bathrobe, since I could not find one I thought she would like for Christmas. While we were at the department store, I saw a clearance floor model of a dual recliner that is perfect for the library. I put 500 unexpected dollars on my credit card and will have delivery of my new loveseat next Monday. This is also incentive to finish the room before then, so I come home to perfectly-placed seating.

20150105_194859This week I will push to finish the painting, which is less than desirable after dark, and find a product to clean and polish the wood in this room. Challenging but I think I can do it. I also have some clutter to deal with, and need to buy either a long low mission table or barrister shelves on which to put my television. I hope to have some before and after photos for you then.

Are you here to read about my adventures with Andy and the girls? It was a sparse weekend while I worked and got a new kitten (another story for another day) but we all 20150106_184601played a quick game of chase together Saturday before I dashed off with the world’s best chicken parm and they went to mass, and Sunday we sat down together for a homestyle meal. My text to Andy Saturday night: “Do you know how much weariness was erased when I came in to three smiling faces?”

The room I expected would tuck in nicely to December, will end up taking two months. Given the warmth of the holidays, it’s hard to feel too bad about that.

I hope everyone had a safe New Year celebration, and has a wonderful 2015!

Wallpaper Memories

Thanksgiving is almost here, and I am glad this is a quick room! I have used orange oil on all of the wood so it is rich and smells wonderful. As I had stripped the wallpaper, I watched the years roll in reverse.

Friday night I visited my mom and helped her with a couple things, then hit the grocery store. This weekend Andy was – you guessed it – away for more hockey. I have noticed the weekends he’s gone, I pack a lot of social stuff in that I normally can’t, because of his erratic schedule. And for him being away, I am busier than ever!

Saturday morning I got up early and patched the nailholes, and cleaned and deglossed all areas I was repainting, using a scrubby and Construction Gear’s disposable gloves. I love the deglosser because it’s like liquid sandpaper – you get the results fresh paint will stick to, without all the elbow grease. I painted everything, using our Purdy paint rollers and paint brushes. I also wore the disposable smocks, to which I have become addicted! I had brought home 3 choices of steely green and creamy white, and the pair Grace chose was the same one I liked, and I am glad. Doesn’t this look great?After

In the evening, my friend Gale came over and we practiced the Christmas music we will take to local nursing homes next month. ‘Tis the season! When all was said and done, I worked 15 hours.

Sunday after church, I put the house on hold and went over to Andy’s, since he was home. We enjoyed some time in the kitchen – I baked some of our English Tea Store scones for our Monday meeting, plus I wanted to have a meal ready to help smooth the transition from traveling to work week. I made him and the girls a tortellini casserole. I love the smells of cooking during the winter.

This week in the evenings I will paint the trim by taping it off, and then put the insulating glass back in the windows.

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.

Cleaning Brushes

  • 20141018_10314220141018_103238This was to be an easy week, finishing the painting in the New Room but I spent about 10 hours on the trim and woodwork, and the color washes on the walls, and they are still not done! I used the brush and rollers from Construction Gear for everything, and they still look good as new. Plug for the brush: for a 4” brush, it is sure precise. I did not need masking tape on many areas. I mentioned that last week but you can see in the photo to the left what I mean!To keep the brush and rollers fresh, when I was in the middle of a project and had to take a break, I wrapped them in a plastic shopping bag to keep them moist – if it was more than a few hours, into the fridge they went. When I was done with each color, I rinsed them thoroughly in just rain water (I love my dad’s rain barrel system!! But since you don’t have it, you can use regular water). When the project was done, I rinsed them and then ran them through the dishwasher. If you don’t have a dishwasher, just put a dab of dish liquid in the palm of one hand and swirl the brush in it to lather or run along the roller, then rinse until the water runs clear.  They held up fine and I will be using them again. So nice to have supplies that you don’t have to throw away at the end of a project – or even after one color! Well worth the cost.

    Sunday I boycotted all restoration work and spent the morning in church, and the afternoon baking bread, then bruschetta. Andy and I had an Italian feast in the half hour from the time he brought the girls home from Lucy’s hockey game, to the time he needed to drop her off at work. Pasta, ravioli, cacciatore, and my offerings. Mmm. He dumped an entire pilsner glass of water in my lap and there was spaghetti on the table when he and Lucy rushed out the door. 20141019_133848Grace went upstairs, leaving me sitting in stunned silence. Andy returned 10 minutes later to finish the meal as adults. You know it’s good when you both have sauce on your face! Unfortunately, he neglected to tell me of mine until we got back from running to get pumpkin for Lucy’s baking. That’s ok. It was worth it to have one of the pumpkin vanilla snickerdoodles hand-delivered right from the oven.

    Next weekend we are going to tackle laying carpet. Yes, I have informed Andy it will be “we.”

Glutton for Punishment

20141004_120106I am still working in the New Room. I should soon start to call it the den because it’s far from new. I finished stripping the wallpaper and am now firmly convinced that menopausal women should have a mandatory stopping point on wallpaper peeling at somewhere less than 8 solid hours, or insanity sets in.

Next, I had to assess the order of painting, and the colors I wanted to use. I wanted the wainscoting to be a solid color, chair and base rails to be white, and the upper previously-papered portion painted with a decorative wash. I like solid color, but there are so many imperfections in these walls, and I have so many different colors to incorporate, that the mottling seems to be the way to go. I can always change it if I want.

Because the wainscoting requires that I really push the brush into the crevices, I did that first, on Friday right after work, in a purple-grey taupe (purchased at BigBox) to match the carpet. I used Construction Gear’s new premium 4” paint brush for greater control. The edge on this brush is so precise that I cut in the wainscoting without needing tape – the bristles went to the very edges and I gently pushed the paint right to the trim. I am impressed. For my white, I mixed the rest of the Bullseye Primer with all the leftover white paint I found in the basement. While allowing the wainscoting to sufficiently dry, I spackled and sanded the walls smooth best I could. I then painted the rails with this white, using the great brush again. I extended the white to the patched upper walls using Construction Gear’s Purdy paint rollers.

20141010_202908Afterwards, I went over to Andy’s for a few minutes. I had made plans to go out for a drink with old high school friends, trying to reconnect now that I am back in the area. Andy was welcome to join us but he stayed at home to spend quality time with his girls.

Saturday was too beautiful to be indoors, and he and I enjoyed one of the best days, ever. I started the morning with about 6 hours of painting, then we went for a 5k hike along Lucy’s steep cross country training course and truly appreciated her running. After we caught our breath, I treated Andy at a nearby coffeehouse. We sat outside under an umbrella and talked leisurely and even got refills! In the frenetic pace of our lives, this felt incredibly decadent. Then he was back to shuttling the girls while I painted, and we touched base again in the evening for the game on TV.

On Sunday I started the decorative painting over the white walls. I applied the taupe using a dry brush and damp rag to smooth it all, bringing out the texture of the wall. I allowed that to dry, then went back and did the same with a satin beige (a quart found in the basement). I like the organic look of it all being very well-blended, like a fine leather.

20141011_110517I finished almost all of this over the weekend, but on Sunday, while I was waiting for a visit from Mo, I got a call from the hospital, that she had been taken in for being dizzy (ok, she and I are both dizzy, but this was the bad kind of dizzy!). In a nutshell, she had missed one of her medications for about a month. I will need to start checking in on her more often, in her apartment. On  my way home from that, I had time to stop at Andy’s for about ten minutes, to rest in him and end the weekend on a relaxing note.

Andy suggested that I paint the window frames and sills white to update the room further. I will do that, as well as add the final coats to all paint, this weekend, and call it a light weekend. I need one of those!