Archive | September 2013

Opening New Space

A little more completed in Seneca – another load of stone arrived for the parking and turn-around, plus a thin layer on the stone already in the driveway to the dome. We won’t order it again after a rainy day. We had 1 1/4 inches of rain and the crushed stone did not flow out of the dump truck very well. We were glad we’d already arranged to have more work with the Bobcat. Ronnie smoothed out the stone beautifully. We are most pleased with this man’s work – he listens, does what we ask and adds the perfect aesthetic touch, whether it is smoothing dirt, or piling felled trees in a pile out-of-the-way.

improved driveway

improved driveway

We had a good deal of the next section of meadow cleared, via Bobcat instead of bush-hog, to get all the small trees out. Sharon can keep this cleared when spring brings new growth. The clearing work uncovered a foundation which was a barn. Lots of good topsoil around that. Originally the whole piece of property was cleared, but over the years the weeds have been allowed to grow. We don’t plan to clear everything, will keep a bit privacy between neighbors, but it is exciting to see what the cleared areas look like. It feels large.

view of cleared meadow from NE edge of driveway

view of cleared meadow from NE edge of driveway

You can see from the curve of the driveway, where I stood to take the picture, way back behind the trees. The front edge of trees is over 100 feet away. There are a couple of bare strips where the old brush was burned, plus the bare dirt beside the driveway where more was cleared.

view of meadow from front patio

view of meadow from front patio

From my patio, there is a pile of topsoil for my keyhole garden. Beyond that is another angle on the newly cleared area, with a new brush pile over 8 feet tall. A couple of months to dry and we’ll have quite a bonfire.

The build crew plans to be out next week to start painting the dome. They’ve had some problems with a couple of recent jobs, and I think my whole house build seems like it was worry-free in comparison. I hope Mother Nature will cooperate this time and give us enough rain-free days to finish. Then I can really work on getting the stone border around the dome, sow grass seed, and start preparations of the soil for landscape plants. I will also set up the frame for my keyhole garden, close to the front patio, so I can easily dump vegetable waste into the compost center. I have a lot of paper for shredding, some good topsoil, cardboard, all will go into the bed of the garden, and should be ready for plants or seeds next spring. We are looking at catalogs now. One plan is to plant a relatively short ornamental grass along the downhill side of the driveway, to attempt to keep the stone out of the yard – safer for mowing.

Wallpaper Removal

Getting the old house ready to sell

After trying a few techniques, I have found what works best for me to remove wallpaper. I am so glad I only did a border print and only in two rooms, but even that’s a pain to take down. First, a small stepstool with a wide flat top is essential – a stepladder rung really hurt my legs and feet. It was a great $30 investment. Next, a scoring tool has to be used – inexpensive and allows sprayed water (fancy liquids are not necessary) behind the top layer. There’s a protective layer that peels off rather well if enough water loosens it. Using a small putty knife, spraying more water on the back layer, and pulling off long strips when possible, got it done. Then I used some cheap terry wash cloths to wipe off any bits of paper and all moistened glue (we used a lot to make it┬ástay!) It gets pretty hot at the ceiling – drink extra water. My neck got sore from looking up.

wallpaper debris

wallpaper debris

wall colors: dark on fireplace, light is new wall color

wall colors: dark on fireplace, light is new wall color

At least I have decided what colors are replacing the too-saturated colors I have enjoyed. And I am good with the neutrals. I think it might be from living in the new cottage with the gray walls. The radiator shows what an ugly green color everything was when I moved in – walls, ceiling, fireplace, radiator. This was in the living room, dining room, and hallway. I plan to leave the darker brown on the fireplace, but cover it on the walls. The light tan ceilings will be white. The dining room has less light, so will be a lighter shade of the living room color. I think I’ll build some simple radiator covers instead of painting them. It has to be easier.

I came down with a cold while on vacation, and did not complete quite what I wanted in packing and painting, but I have nearly finished clearing both bedrooms. The living room still has one coat closet to clear, with one done, and one bookcase to clear. Although we made a nice dent in the basement junk when my friend Nancy visited, I have not had time to do more there.

I’ve also realized I won’t have to do anything right now with the sparse grassy area – it’s brown in winter, when I will probably get it on the market. I do have a lot of other yard work to do, though.

Landscaping

foundation is now covered

foundation is now covered

The next step on the cottage has been completed. After three weeks of dry weather – and I was out-of-town for two of them – we got someone with a Bobcat to move dirt around. There were three piles that went around the house and patios, to bring the ground up to level with the house. He also did a great job smoothing some bumpy and steep spots in the yard, making it easier for mowing. He skimmed off enough dirt to give me the driveway up to the side of the front patio. I still need to get stone there, but I can now drive there.

new parking spot

new parking spot

Besides the landscape work around the cottage, next he tackled the overgrown section of our property beyond the mowed meadow. This was to take down some small trees so next week he’ll be back to bush-hog it. Since neither Sharon nor I have managed to get back that far, we are looking forward to seeing that section cleared. Sharon plans to do the same as the front meadow: spraying through the worst of the growth, then having equipment in to remove dead weeds and enlarge the lawn. We think this section may be large enough for two more small houses.

beginning of clearing back meadow

beginning of clearing back meadow

The cottage will next get its paint, and I will be putting a ring of decorative stone around it. This is mainly to try to keep the red mud stains off the walls, then plants can go in beyond that. I did get a large bag of daffodil bulbs, and have three crape myrtles that Sharon has been tending for me. Things are finally almost done. We are looking at catalogs for more plantings.

Awesome Accomplishment

I just want to brag a little on my brother. He recently finished (his second) Ironman distance race. First was of the Ironman brand, this one was Revolution3 brand. I am very impressed with his drive and ability to train for and complete a race like this. He found he really liked triathlons with swimming, biking, and running. It just progressed to the big challenge after a few years and making friends with people who had already done it. The race starts with a 2.4 mile swim, then a transition to bike for a 112 mile ride, then a transition to foot for a full 26.2 marathon. That’s 140.6 miles with a requirement to be under 17 hours. He has been around 13 hours. He calculated that he’d expended 10,000 calories that day!

Dale after his race - with his 140.6 and finisher stickers

Dale after his race – with his 140.6 and finisher stickers

This race was held at Cedar Point Amusement Park, not far from where we’d grown up in northern Ohio. I also worked there while in college. The week after the race, 5 of the 7 of us siblings and spouses rented a house near there for a relaxing vacation. It was a good week, but odd with temps in upper 90s, followed by a chilly spell. We were across the street from a city park right on Lake Erie, with a nice beach, rose garden, and fountain. On Saturday we saw 5 wedding parties having photos taken at the fountain.

park from front porch

park from front porch

fountain, with house where we stayed beyond it

fountain, with house where we stayed beyond it

 

Seeing friends was great, but we all agreed that the area was a bit unfamiliar,┬ásince we’d all been living elsewhere for so long – things change a lot, even between visits.

More About Beading

Okay, per inquiry, I took some pictures of my experiments with wirework jewelry. I am still a beginner and am experimenting with tidy finishings.

coiled wire earrings

coiled wire earrings

 

The coiled wire is going to make some interesting earrings. The coiled wire with beads will be used as a ‘beaded bead’ on a necklace. Both of these have an initial coil, then a second heavier wire inserted inside, which is then also coiled. It makes a very interesting look. The picture shows the Coiling Gizmo behind a pair of earrings made by coiling fine copper wire, then inserting a heavier black wire and coiling it all. Click on the picture to get a larger view and see the coils.

beaded bead and spinner

beaded bead and spinner

This is a bead spinner and the needle designed to work with it. It does a decent job, and since I used 28 gauge wire (very small), it worked almost as well as a needle. It is a great idea that someone had, to put the beads in a bowl, and spinning it causes them to shift, especially as the needle stirs them, and quite a few will align and slide onto the needle. I still find it boring, even though I am accustomed to using one to three beads at a time as I create stitches with thread. The pattern being created keeps that from being boring to me. I do enjoy patterns and color. Bead weaving has that plus a variety of shapes and finishes of beads. Some patterns and stitches I like better than others. I was never a big fan of hand stitching when I learned to sew, but to see beads form three-dimensional objects as I work fascinates me.

The other wire working that I find I like is beaded crochet of very fine (28 gauge) wire. I learned crochet as a child, but just started with beads on wire. It gives such a nice lacy look to the piece. It is also rather forgiving, as long as the wire isn’t bent so far as to break it, it can be rearranged if slightly crunched.

wire crochet necklace

wire crochet necklace

The next type of metal work I try will be chain maille – no pictures yet. It is just attaching jump rings to each other in a pattern, but I am so surprised to find how many patterns have been developed. It will require me to get very comfortable with thinking in 3 dimension and carefully observing at which angle each ring sits. There are many sizes and colors (with niobium finishes) of jump rings. People who work with a lot of this frequently make their own rings from wire. I’m too new at this to even consider it.