Sunday, February 21, 2010

Craft Room Prep

Today we finally got to the priming stage for the craft room walls and ceiling.  I know you don't have to always prime the ceiling, but I think it will help in this case.  The ceiling had these weird hand-print stains on it that I hope  the primer will take care of.  While Jim is at work tomorrow, I will paint the ceiling and closet.  I will wait to paint the walls 'til Tues, since Jim's mom is coming out to help out then.  Here are pics of us prepping the craft room.  Jim is repairing a corner, and I am priming the closet. 

Today we also bought a bird feeder and some seed since the poor birds around here look like they are hungry.  I kept checking to see if any birds came to the new feeder, but I haven't seen any yet.  Maybe they know I bought a clearance bird feeder and are insulted.  Haha!  I had to use a ladder to reach the hook that the previous owners used for their feeder.  I'm sure I had a few 2nd glances from people driving by.

I will be posting more pics tonight of the house, probably in the before/after page.

We have wireless!

Yeah!  We have found our wireless router so now we can get to all the pictures stored on our wireless storage device aptly named The Pensieve.  Now I can post the pictures everyone has been wanting to see.  I will divide the pics into separate blogs and/or pages so that it isn't too much in one large post.  However, it is getting late, so  it will have to wait until tomorrow.
The walls in my craft room are finally repaired and cleaned, so we plan on priming it tomorrow.  Maybe I will have a blue Monday afterall.  ^_^
We had an energy audit done on the house today.  It wasn't as bad as we thought it was going to be.  We thought we'd end up having a very long list of things since the house is 140 yrs old.  The major things he recommended were siding on the house, new windows in the nursery, and insulation for the attic.  He also gave us some tips for helping to keep our energy bills down that are quick, easy, and inexpensive fixes.
I hope everyone is having a good weekend.  Jim created a snowbunny the other day and put it on the tree swing, but it only lasted one day before it fell off.  I told him it was because the squirrels attacked it to get to its peanut eyes.
Take care!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

It's electric!

While I am not an electrician, my occupation as an electrical safety engineer has provided some practical knowledge. I guess working with the NEC (and CEC) regularly has some benefits after all.

I have slowly been investigating the various electrical circuits in our new/antique home, and I am becoming accustomed to the MacGyver style solutions that infest our walls. Much of the wiring throughout our home is cloth insulated 2-wire and is often in flexible metal conduit; there are, however, a few newer circuits which use romex wire. The sprawling, almost organic-looking, circuits which supply various room will continue to be a point of contention. I intend to eventually update all of the branch circuits, but it will certainly take some time.

One of the assets of our home is that we have two electrical meters for our property. Some time ago, the second story was leased to renters. At that time the second meter, and second story circuit breaker panel were installed. Having a second breaker box should afford us some opportunities to run new lines through the attic to the rooms on the upper floor, instead of relying only on the original panel in the basement. We do wish to relocate the upstairs breaker panel, since it is currently in a bedroom closet. Sounds like a fun summer project!

No blue blues

My craft room is looking quite bare at the moment.  Repairing the walls has taken longer than I had thought.  I should be doing the final sanding tomorrow (I hope!) and then it will be time to wash the walls with TSP before priming.  I'm hoping the room will be looking blue my Monday.
I've decided I need new heat registers in the craft room since the current ones are ugly and beat-up, but mostly just ugly.  The type of registers in the room are triangular baseboard style.  Unfortunately for me, the Victorian style registers I like are only available in floor and wall registers, not the baseboard type like I have.  Unless I want to have them custom-built and pay lots of money, which I don't.   I am quite flustered and disappointed since it seems the only styles available to me are either the straight louvred or wicker styles...neither of which I like very much.  On the bright-side, the craft room and the full bath upstairs are the only rooms with the baseboard style registers.  The rest of the house either has floor or wall registers.  I guess I'll just have to suck it up and get the wicker style for my craft room and upstairs bath.
Due to all this seemingly unrelenting snow, big icicles had formed on the gutters on the south-side of the house.  Jim and I have theorized that the previous owner, being an older gentleman, didn't clean his gutters and they have become clogged.  We can't investigate this theory just now since it is a bit too cold and icy outside.  In the meantime, we have decided to at least knock down the icicles we can reach.  So yesterday, Jim was leaning out the upstairs bathroom's casement window trying to knock down icicles with a large stick.  It was a bit amusing to watch.  I was happy to see today that a lot of the remaining icicles have melted.  Yea, sun!
Today someone in a red car honked at me and waved as I was getting the mail.  I have no clue who they were;  they probably mistook me for someone else.  Once the weather warms up, Jim and I will probably be getting a new mailbox since our current one was a casualty of a snow plow and is held on the pole by bungee cords.  ^_^*

Monday, February 15, 2010

Hello, World!

My husband, James, and I have recently purchased our first home--an old farmhouse built in 1870.  This blog is an attempt for us to journal our adventure of first-time homeownership and restoring/renovating our home.  Our intentions are for each of us to blog at least weekly.
Some of the things we've done in the 3 weeks we've been here are:

  • Given the rooms we are currently using a good cleaning.  These are essentially the entire downstairs and the master bedroom and the full bath upstairs.  There are still 4-5 more rooms we haven't cleaned yet.
  • Taken down all the cobweb infested shutters in the living/family room.  The previous owners saw fit to give that room a pioneer decor which also included a pioneer themed wallpaper complete with muskets, horses, bushels of apples and red barns (I'll post a pic in a later blog).  This wallpaper competes for focus with a faux brick wall on the opposite side of the room.  To top it off, the bricks are differing shades of pink!  This room will definitely get a makeover, but for now our Asian style decor will just have to clash.  ^_^*
  • Sealed the family room windows with Frost King window insulation since this is one of the few remaining rooms that has old windows. *See our review of this product on our Review page.*  
  • Removed the carpeting and molding in my future craft room/office.  The carpeting was worn and rotten which made it easy to remove and tear up into smaller bundles.  My MIL helped with carpet removal.  James and I also removed the molding in that room since it didn't fit with the rest of the molding in the house.  The craft room is the newest addition to the house, but we want to make it fit in better with the rest of the home.  We will add new molding once the walls have been painted.
  • Cleaned and sealed off the kitchen cabinets.  Some of the cabinets didn't have a proper back or floor to them, so they were pretty much open to the floor and wall.  The previous owner had done some "repair" work, but there were still some gaps into the wall cavity that any ol' creature or creepy crawly could crawl through.  I did not like the thought of creatures crawling on my dishes or pots, so Jim closed the holes up.  After fully cleaning my cabinets and drawers, I also contact papered the entire inside surfaces.  There was peeling paint everywhere inside the cabinets, but since we are planning on remodeling the kitchen in a year or so, I didn't want to waste my time and energy scraping and repainting everything.
  • Jim has done a bit with the electric, but I'll let him blog about it in more detail.
We've been slowly unpacking, but a lot of our stuff still remains in boxes in the library and dining room since we want to finish restoring a room before we move items into it.
Today I plan to finish repairing the walls in my craft room so that we can start to paint later this week.  The colors I chose are Valspar Freshwater for the walls and Valspar Downpour for the ceiling and closet.  I'm looking forward to getting all my craft supplies out of boxes and into their very own room.