December 13, 2014
Perking up the Livingroom for the Season
Just to brighten things up a bit, I put up a few Christmas decorations. Of course I put up the trusty tree that I bought when I worked in Hollis. Last year it was in the entertainment center so this is its first year in the bay window.
On top of the entertainment center I placed the snow globe that Cop Car and HH presented to me last year (sorry for the crappy picture, the lighting wasn't good and the flash just made the globe a giant white spot).
Where the tree was last year, I placed decorative leaves, a spice basket (pinecones, cinnamon sachet and real cinnamon sticks), and Mr. Snowman.
In the enclosed space of the entertainment center are winter figures of wolves.
And a shot of the entertainment center that brings it together.
I need to figure a way to get rid of all those wires that crap up the background!
That is my nod to the Holiday and winter season.
Last weekend I was doing something, I don't recall what, which evidently made noises that Fuzzy didn't like. I only realized that when I walked into the kitchen and saw Fuzzy staring out the office door. How did that tip me off? Fuzzy never goes into the office as that is Tory's hang out.
Tory was a little disgruntled that Fuzzy was in there, but he was more upset with what I was doing. I can tell becasue otherwise he would have either moved to the couch or confronted Fuzzy.
After I finished my actions - ah yes, I remember now, I was cleaning the upstairs stove and using an ash vac that I had just gotten and it sounds much different than my tiny shop vac that I had been using.
The ash vac is the green one, the shop vac is the red one. I received the shop vac as my Christmas gift in 2012 when I worked for SG; There were a bunch of boxes and envelopes that everyone got to chose from, and that is what I managed to pick. Little did I know how handy it would turn out to be later! It has been cleaning sheetrock dust, saw dust, pellet stoves and goodness knows what else. It has been great, just it is very small and I would have to empty it as much as 3 times a day.
Anyway, once I finished with the pellet stove cleaning, Fuzzy came out into the living room (his usual haunt) and life for the kitties returned to normal.
December 06, 2014
Let me just get this out there in front: I Love Craig's List!
I have gotten many good deals for items that I couldn't afford to buy new off the service. My livingroom couch (wood Futon), the livingroom chair (smaller wood futon), hanging cabinets for the office and kitchen, filing cabinet (for EX as I took the one from the house), upstairs pellet stove etc.
A couple of weeks ago I borrowed EX's leaf blower for cleaning out the pellet stove pipes (this is a video off of You Tube that shows the concept)
Yes, EX volunteered the leaf blower when I told him that I was looking for a used blower and why.
So, after cleaning the stove out, I hooked up the leaf blower and got the rest of the crud out. I then used the blower to get the leaves out from under the ramp and to chase leaves away from paths that I snow blow.
A couple days later, I was perusing Craig's List, and lo and behold the exact same leaf blower that I had used that weekend was on there for a great price. It was almost new, only being used for a couple of times. It had been on CL for 7-10 days so emailed to find out if it was still available. It was, I offered $10 less than the asking price, and the next day I picked up my new leaf blower.
Of course the next day it snowed, and has been snowing on and off since, so it won't wee any leaves before it sees a pellet stove vent pipe, but that's okay.
This past Wednesday, I was perusing CL, with a vague idea of getting wall cabinets for the craft room. Although I didn't find any, I did see an intriguing add for a "Spice cabinet", brand new, in box, for $20. I was actually unsure if it was for the cabinet insert, or for the cabinet, but either way I could make it work for that price.
I contacted the seller. Thursday I went and picked it up. Sure enough, brand new, in a box addressed to the seller and to the address I picked it up at (I had been suspicious about it being a stolen item from the low price), and the transaction was made.
I now have a cabinet that normally sells for $200, and will be great for holding my essential oils and other bottled items that reside in the craft room. Those items are currently taking up a lot of room on a bookshelf, so now that can be cleared for actual books.
Now all I need is another floor unit (maybe with drawers) so that I can either make, or buy, a countertop. Of course I will be using CL to find what I need.
Let There be (Recessed) Light
Last weekend was small project time. Last winter, Harry and the EX helped me tear out the garage ceiling, install more insulation and install recessed LED lighting. I chose recessed lighting as the ceiling is short and I figured I would wipe out bulbs moving ladders or even gardening tools around. My choice was proven out as the EX managed to wack hanging light while installing insulation, resulting in a broken bulb. However, the lighting project couldn't be completed until sheetrock was installed, there have been incandescent bulbs hanging out of the canisters.
This summer, I hired a company to install the garage ceiling sheetrock so there was no reason the final install of the lights couldn't be completed except my own nervousness working with electical stuff.
With the cold weather, I figured the open canisters were probably letting a lot of cold air into the floor of the bedroom and craft room, so decided to figure out how to complete the wiring for the LED's, and close the holes up until it is time to finish the ceiling (not a very big priority). Plus, I had energy saver rebates for the LED's that I had to send in by the end of this month and I needed the UPC codes off the boxes.
So, I took the plunge and opened one of the LED light assembly boxes. There were only two parts to deal with, and the instructions were clear. The first step was to adjust the clamp springs for a 5" cannister, instead of the 6" cannister it was pre-set for. Loosen 2 screws, push in the tabs, tighten the screws up.
At this point, things were going so well, I figured I would screw something up somewhere and make it a much larger project than it should have been. Down in the garage, I unscrewed the lightbulb then installed the adapter, which just screwed right in where the bulb had come out of.
Then I made sure all the wires stayed on top of the light assembly, sqeezed the springs to fit into the brackets, slid the assembly up, and voila', I had a completed light install. Of course I tested to make sure the light came on before installing the other two assemblies.
I should have opened those boxes a long time ago and installed them. Really didn't know it would be that easy and no messing with wires.
After the clean up of the craft room, with all the room that was created, it came in handy for staining trim for the windows. I had sanded the trim a couple weeks ago, so I just needed a fairly dust-free place to stain and polyuerathane.
Then I closed the door, and moved to the office where the new sheetrock still only had one coat of mud.
Tip: if you are used to using a certain brand of mud, don't change in the middle of the project. AFter finishing the bucket of one kind of mud, I had a horrible time trying to spread the second brand, which ended up in a whole lot of sanding work for me last night. I stil need to do the two corners one more time, which I should be able to do today.
This is the type of work that does not give immediate satisfaction as it takes so long to let everything dry enough for the next coat (of mud or polyeurathane). However, eventually it will all be good.
November 30, 2014
Craft Room Cleanup
I have been using the future craft room (also where all my bookshelves are) as a work center. I set up the miter saw and air compressor there while working on my bedroom and installing the crown molding for the living room. Last weekend I painted the base trim for the craft room to match the crown molding, which had been painted and installed previously. I had wanted to sand and stain it, but decided in the interest of time, and getting further use out of the room, just to paint it.
After installing the baseboard, it came time to move the bookshelves back against the walls and get the tools out of the way. Here is the mess that I started with (the first picture is from the doorway):
Before moving the shelves, I washed the floor then oiled it with grapeseed oil. As I moved furniture and removed tools, I did the same. Here is the progression of the floor transformation
During the move I washed down all the shelves and other wood furniture to get all the sheetrock dust, mudding dust and sawdust off, then rubbed them down with orange oil. Of course I'm not quite done with use of the room yet, so am not putting anything in its final resting spot yet, but at least it looks better and I can move around and find stuff
And of course, with the open floor space, Friday I stained window trim tha I had sanded last weekend, and yesterday I started polyuerathaning it. Picture taken from the doorway shows how open it is compared to before.
The craft room has certainly lived up to its name, even before being set up.
No, not my porch, but the resident squirrel has cleared his porch out. I noticed this, and know it is from the squirrel because I happened to chase him from my bird feeder on the ramp, and he headed straight to his hide-a-way.
Look behind the chair and you can see where the snow has been piled up or shoved back and it continues bdhind and around the rhody. Harder to discern in the picture is the packed path that leads beside the chair - headed straight for my back door. Especially evident when you look at the left side of the tree, in which none of the snow has been "shovelled"
Yes, I'm easily entertained.
November 27, 2014
New Roof Report
During the summer I had the shingle roof stripped and a metal standing seam roof put on. I have a very low pitch roof that holds onto the snow, and I was hoping the metal roof would allow the snow to slide off so I wouldn't have to roof rake as much. Add to the mix that my house also has a eave on all 4 sides, and roof raking becomes a nightmare for basically 130 feet. We had done the same thing at the Deering house (which had more of a pitch than my present house does, and a conventional roof with eaves on 2 sides), and it would shed snow fairly well once it started accumulating.
Well, I am happy to report that it has exceeded all expectations. The snow started sliding last night over the backside of the house.
This morning, one side was almost clear - the side that has both pellet stove exhaust pipes on it, plus the living room pellet stove makes that room very warm (of which I assume at least some of that warmth makes it to the attic). The front side still had lots of snow, even though I had to clean up some that it had dumped overnight.
When I got home about 3 this afternoon, the roof had cleared itself.
For those wondering, Some of the simplistic theory behind a metal roof shedding snow is that sunlight goes thru the snow and heats up the metal (the darker the color, the better the heating). Plus, any heat that escapes into the attic warms up the metal. In turn, the lower level of snow starts to melt, making the roof a water slide for the snow. This snow was very heavy, which means it probably slid faster than if it had been a light snow - that is my theory anyway, and we'll see how it holds up as the winter progresses.
I have the only completely clear roof in the neighborhood, and there are some houses with mighty steep roofs. Of course that meant I had to shovel the driveway and front steps again, but I don't have to worry about the snow load on the house at all!
I started today with snowblowing the driveway. I had snow blowed last night, but that was just the first 5-6", so I had to get the rest of the 13" total taken care of along with the berm the town plows left at the end of the driveway.
After getting the driveway cleared, I took time to look at the trees and how magical they look
These trees are just across the fence
This tree is across the street from me, and usually doesn't look like much, but with the snowy covering lit up by sunlight makes it just explode with beautifull
I went to my boss's house for an early Thanksgiving dinner and she had created a lovely spread
On the way home, I was enchanted with the trees to either side of the road
Stop and smell the roses during the spring and summer, Enjoy the colors of fall, and take the time to be enchanted with the beauty that fresh snow brings to the otherwise barren landscape during winter!
For Thanksgiving NH recieved a snowfall that turned the landscape beautiful. The first measurable snowfall for fall of 2014 measured 13" here in Hillboro. I am so very thankful that we didn't get the massive snowfall that Buffalo recieved last week!
Along with being blessed with the beautiful scenery, I am thnakful for family (both by blood and in-laws), internet friends and furry friends, that I have a job, that I have a place to live and can afford to keep myself warm and fed, and that I am healthy and able to take care of myself. Addtionally, I am thankful for those men and women who defend our country.
I hope everyone finds time today to realize what they have.