Masking off Trim for Painting

20141224_112316With the holidays, I am falling a bit behind on the writing, as well as the remodel work.

I traveled to Boston over Christmas as part of a trip with Andy, Lucy, and Grace for a hockey tournament. We piled into one vehicle and stayed in a hotel room with two small beds. Every couple hours we stopped to stretch and grab quick sandwiches. The girls slept, fought, challenged us and each other with trivia and other rites of passage. Lucy drove part of the way in preparation for her driver’s test while I manned the music and Andy and Grace sat in the back making funny faces for selfies. We socialized, toured Harvard just for fun, spent time at a friend’s New England Coastal beach house, and cheered as Lucy’s team won the hockey tournament. Except for the sports, it’s the way I remember traveling as a kid. Andy will soon have Lucy in college and he’ll blink and it will be time to send Grace.

Before we left, I had a teeny bit of time to patch the stripped walls, sand and wipe them down, and mask off the wainscoting from the chair rail. I used our disposable mask respirators when I patched the walls. When you take them off after doing even the smallest amount of spackling, you know it was worth it from the mask’s outline left on your face. Like the other rooms, there will be some items that stay the same here. As I often do while I work, I think of my dad. I grew up in an extended family who believed that if you can’t pay cash for something, you don’t need it. Souvenirs from trips are not cheaply made, overpriced touristy things, but a newspaper or seashell.

20141224_123201When we were born, we were living in my grandparents’ duplex while my dad bought this house for a few hundred dollars. I mentioned before, I don’t believe it had running water, so no bathroom. No kitchen? I think there was a cold storage where the kitchen stands now. Both of my parents went to four-year colleges and got degrees in accounting. My mom quit her job in the city to be a stay-at-home. After a few years, my father chose to change his path from accountant to construction foreman. It paid less per hour, but gave him as much overtime as he could physically take. The day they were married he started planning for our college. I know it’s not feasible to pay cash for everything today. Because of turns of events in Andy’s life, he won’t be able to pay for his girls’ college in full and in cash. Not many people can. My dad did. I am not bragging about money because we had none. We never went out to eat and a pair of socks had to wait until August when we could get school clothes. My mom worked part time to get us fabric to make us prom gowns. My dad worked until exhaustion daily. He drove a red Ford pick-up truck (“Baby”) decades beyond its normal shiny life expectancy because to buy a new one would mean us getting derailed from college. I think that thing was 30 years old when he finally replaced it. We never knew why. We just saw the old, beat-up truck in the driveway he re-shaled with a shovel every year, instead of the new cars on paved drives so many of our classmates had.

20141224_123141Winters my dad was laid off from road work; because he had a reputation as a silent and hard worker, he was often invited to do day jobs for friends in the construction industry. He got a few extra dollars to put into the college funds, but the real boon of doing this was that he was invited to take anything from demolition projects. You have seen the parquet floor and the fireplace mantle beam from what were Pittsburgh-area landmarks. The thing I am saving from this room are the leaded glass doors with cut glass doorknobs that he built into one wall.

2014-12-30 14.25.57This weekend, before Boston, I removed the crystal knobs, taped the woodwork and painted it. I used our paintbrushes and gloves after carefully pressing on the old metal with the tape. I haven’t looked at what decorative glassware is behind the doors. I may put books there if my sister wants the glassware. I don’t think I am going to open the doors yet, but when I do, no matter what I put on the shelves, I am going to put my souvenir of Boston with Andy and the girls in there, too – a perfect sea shell from the day we all braved the December waters on the New England Coast.

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.

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…

Speed Cleaning the Laundry Room

20140906_18322220140906_183425The laundry room is at the back of the house but because the driveway dumps out to this entry, this is where every single visitor arrives. It is a quaint room with bright light but currently, too much chipped paint on the floors and walls. Over the years, the storage capacity for cleaning supplies and gardening tools have far exceeded a safe limit. Shelves were added as needed and white paint was added every few years. Spider webs prevail. There are more boxes of rose fertilizer than I could use in a lifetime, even if I grew roses. The birds outside would probably appreciate it if I could get their plastic tub of food out somewhere that I could actually feed them. Right now a hoosier cabinet waits in one corner for someone to put it back where it belongs in the kitchen. It was moved the day the EMTs had to get the stretcher into the house to pick up Daddy’s body.

This room will be light and bright and cheery. I will sand down the paint that is on too thick on woodwork (hmm. Should I strip the woodwork?), repaint the ceiling and walls (they definitely need it), and prime/paint/seal the cement floor. First is a good cleaning, and a good cleaning out. It is here that I started.

Much of the shelving is overhead, so I will be wearing the hard hat. I will definitely be wearing the disposable coveralls and poly gloves, with the amount of gunk and goo in this room. I will be wearing the respirator, too, as there are some chemicals.

20140719_132847 20140831_181323As I mentioned earlier, hockey season has started. Last weekend, Andy took Lucy and Gracie and I to get Lucy new gear. When we got back, she and Kay were trying it on and she grabbed my phone to take a selfie. With Andy’s permission, the photo is here. That’s Lucy, Grace, and Kay from left to right. Aren’t they beautiful girls? Anyway, this weekend he took them to Toronto for a showcase, which means recruiters will get to “shop” prospective scholarship-bound players. In today’s economy, a scholarship is necessary if both girls are to attend college.

Since he was gone, my mom and I spent a good portion of the weekend visiting with each other and going through the laundry room: a box to give away, a box to keep, and a box to throw away. Rather, some of the compostable garbage bags on our Construction Gear site. The bags were thick but brittle so I wouldn’t put anything sharp in them. Barring that, they were easy to open and tie, and were very durable. Plus I felt good knowing they are eco-friendly! This is my mom putting on the gloves.20140906_115803

After cleaning off the shelves, I disassembled the perimeter homemade shelving to open up the room. Next week I will be using the TSP cleanser at industrial strength to start scrubbing the room down, and replacing some of the removed wooden shelves with more delicate glass ones.

The Pack Rat

mess100 years in the same house + 3 generations + the flotsam of life = 3 stories + 3 outbuildings gorged with stuff!  Some is treasure – buried to be sure! Much is trash. The buildings are headed for demolition so two cousins are spending hours and days sorting it out. It’s a nasty job but someone has to do it to retrieve the treasure – silver coins and much more!

Online StoresConstruction Gear, Safety Girl, and Discount Safety Gear can help:        

Hours of kneeling pulling from the piles – CHECK!  We’ve got you covered with knee pads

Disp RespiratorDust, dust, dust – breathe in, breathe out! CHECK! We’ve got you covered with disposable face masks.

Danger – hazardous to clothing – CHECK! We’ve got you covered with disposable coveralls to protect your clothes.

coverallsHeads-up – Hard hats must be standard gear! CHECK! We’ve got you covered with our construction grade hard hats! They even come in snazzy colors for fashionistas!

hard hatSorting, trashing, treasuring, saving – It’s all in a day’s work. No, make that MANY days! You’re on your own! We don’t make house calls!

~AH

Painting a Vinyl Floor

20140822_235959This is another segment in my farmhouse refresh series. I am still in the bathroom, forever in the bathroom. Over the last week I debated painting the floor, or laying a river stone floor. I decided I would paint the floor and see how it held up. Even knowing the vinyl is a step away from dead and I have a contingency plan, it made me nervous. Everything I read said painting it can turn out great, or a disaster. I read four or five different sets of directions on doing this, as if you don’t paint it properly, you regret the project. I was painstakingly careful with each step. I understand the finish won’t last forever but until I can afford reflooring, I wanted it to look nice.

I got a late start to the weekend, as Friday evening was a celebration for Andy’s parents’ fiftieth wedding anniversary! I am so in awe of being able to put up with one person, day in and day out, for that long. Kudos to them. They are a beautiful couple, and the meal was a lovely family dinner at one of the nicer restaurants in their town. I had the lasagna – divine! Gracie went with us but Lucy had to work. I wore a boho dress Andy brought back from a cruise earlier in the year. You know, one of those long things with handcrafted lace at the neckline that makes you feel like a princess and is extremely comfortable all at  the same time? A table full of relatives, some who had traveled from out of state, everyone sharing and laughing. The word I’d use to describe the meal is exuberant.

We weren’t back late and Andy was asleep as soon as his butt hit the leather sofa, so I left and got an early start Saturday. I had already glued down the popped up tiles, and filled in chipped corners, with a marine sealant/epoxy.

20140823_065639If you decide to paint vinyl floors, I will pass on what I read were the important bits: sand it to scuff it and scrape any odd globs off of it, clean thoroughly (I used Trisodium Phosphate at household strength), let every step dry before starting the next, and make sure your sealant is clear. Take the time to tape your edges off carefully, and spend the extra money to get the better masking tape. Be sure every product is made for high traffic, and porch/patio or exterior use to ensure durability. That’s IF you decide to paint your vinyl tile floor.

I followed the directions on dry time but it still flaked off when walking on it after the allotted time. I touched it up and allowed it to cure for a few days before sealing. I used a high-traffic high-gloss clear polyurethane, three coats, with about 72 hours between coats, and then a full week before I put the floor into service. Maneuvering from the hallway to the tub, standing on sink and toilet was interesting but kept me off the floor – and limber! Until I added the sealer, I was not sure on the floor. The sealer, though expensive, really made the difference.

Cost for this project was $30 for high-traffic porch and patio paint, $10 for the cleaner and deglosser, and $40 for the clear gloss sealant (the primer was costed in a prior post).

20140823_132805The disposable gloves were an absolute necessity for the floor project. The TSP cleanser is not to be used on skin, so I wore the gloves when I was scrubbing. I used them also to wash and rinse the floor and hung them to dry, so they were ready to go with the deglosser and painting steps. And again I used the disposable coveralls. I think I may need to get a new package. A side note on those – in the heat of the summer, they were very warm. They are breathable, but it was definitely an extra layer of insulation. Because of the gloves and overalls, I was able to go right from working, to the store, just by removing those.

I toyed with the idea of using the respirator when I sanded the floor, but as I didn’t use a power sander, it seemed like overkill. I gently scuffed and then scrubbed. There wasn’t much dust. I did, however, need it on the fumes from the polyurethane.

Next week I must tackle the lighting, which I have been putting off. I don’t like to do that alone, at least without anyone in the house to call 911 if I zap myself. I’ve wired an addition before, but it’s been decades.

~BS