Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Tickle the Ivories

When I purchased Giddings Lane, included in the price was a piano in my shed. Now, before you get all excited dream of hearing me tickle the ivories, please note these two things. 1, you do NOT want to hear me play the piano. My one year of lessons didn't really "take." 2, this piano was in BAD shape. It had been home to several cats (they left poo evidence,) significant water damage (the metal back is majorly rusted,) and is completely beyond restoring. (I did try several times to find a new home for the beast, but no one took me up on my offer.) sThat means that this piano is headed to the dump. Now, if you recall, I mentioned that the piano was in the shed in the backyard, not anywhere near a stable place to load a trailer with a 600+ pound piano. Notice the distance from the shed, whose door faces the backyard and the front of the carport.

So, when my sweet cousin Emily was down to see my niece Vaeh, she was cajoled/suckered into helping move the piano. You know how it goes, come play with the cute baby and do some massive physical labor. No big deal! Ha! We'll see if I can every convince her to come back...

Using an intricate system of walking 2 by 12's, dollies and tow straps, Marc, Sara and poor Emily rolled the piano to its new home in my carport. (didn't I mention it was a little crowded in there??)

After strapping the piano to the porch braces, there it sat for almost a month. Hey, others have pretty flowers and cute gnomes in their yard. Me? I have a giant poo-infested piano. (I know you're super jealous.)

Last weekend, in an effort to clean up my carport, I started to dismantle the giant monstronsity. In case you are curious, Bradford pianos are held together with 1,000 plus flathead screws and glue. All of the wood pieces instead of being screwed or nailed are just glued together. I did salvage the wood from the pieces I pulled off. (I was told the wood was walnut, which makes even a diehard paint fan like me cringe when I see the current finish. The black finished piano was covered in nasty orange paint and then antiqued.)

With careful loosening and re-tightening of the tow straps, I unscrewed and removed the key covers and the face of the piano. To be completely honest, a piano is actually pretty cool underneath all of the wood.

After a couple of hours of un-engineering a piano, I now have this beauty sitting out front. Most of the keys are sitting out for the trashman, along with a couple of other unsalvageable parts. Current plans are to recycle the metal wall along the back somewhere, somehow. Otherwise, if anyone has any suggestions or wants a piece of my piano, leave me a comment or better yet, come pick up a part!

Monday, February 21, 2011

Dirty Habits

So, one of the bad/good things about a blog is that the entire (all 20+ of y'all!) world gets to see all of your dirty laundry. While I do write the blog and I get to decide what goes on it, it is somewhat cathartic to air my dirty laundry and breathe a bit. During my crazy weeks, I have a habit of dropping things where they fall when I come into the house. Most nights I get home about an hour or so before bed and then leave again in the early morning. Rarely do I have time, okay, really energy to pick up. So, when the weekend comes, I go around and try and pick up everything and put it back where it goes.

My project this weekend was cleaning up not the inside of my house, but the carport instead. With dumpster diving and salvaging lumber, house parts, and extra saw horses, my carport was appearing very similar to an ad for a storage company. There was barely enough room for my car and opening doors was very scary for fear of scratching them or sending something flooding down.

So, I backed the car out and after putting on some heavy duty gloves, I started the seemingly impossible task of cleaning up and clearing away. I moved a set of three saw horses over and restacked the mess of lumber.

Underneath the lumber hodge-podge I discovered the wooden pallet that held my back door when it was shipped. If you look carefully in my "after," you'll realize I gave up on pulling this apart and instead leaned it up on the lumber stack. (Cut me some slack, it was put together with some hurricane nails. yuck!!)
On top of the pallet was 2 bags of Quickcrete. One of them had split open over time, which made for some very interesting dust. Ugh! (don't worry, my house wasn't burning. that "smoke" on Sunday afternoon was a misdirected blower on the dust. I rapidly switched to shop-vac after that.) Along with all of the hefting and hauling, I pulled all of the nails and staples out of the wood.

Approximately 4 hours later, I finally had what you see below. Not only do I have room for my car now, but it's safe to open the doors! It was so worth the effort and makes me happy every time I pull into it.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

The Latest Line-up

With the Super Bowl over, we have a new line-up. This was the scene in my carport not too long ago.

These are the yet another grouping in the endless parade of doors in this house. In the interior of the house alone, we have 12 doors that have had to be refinished. (Nope, that's not including the various cabinet doors.)

If you don't recall, check out this to see exactly what is involved in getting the doors into hanging shape. After hours of sanding, de-gooking and painting, we finally have closet doors hanging up in the last two rooms of the house. Yes!!! This means that I can join the hoards of others who stuff closets full and then shut the doors to hide it. Oh wait, no knobs on the doors means I probably shouldn't shut them yet... Hmmmm

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

A Definition...

Several people have wondered about a recent post where I used the term "crap" moulding. (As a disclaimer, I'm not in the habit of using bad words. Crap is as severe as I get, thanks to a job where I have to watch my language and a mother that still gives "looks" for poor choices. You have no fear of this turning into a foul mouthed blog.) I love the look of crown moulding, but the steps to going from the picture above to the picture below are long and tedious. For starters, you have to purchase the stuff. When I fell in love with it a year ago, it was $3.25 for 8 feet worth. Now, it's almost $6 for the same 8 feet. Unfortunately, with 2 rooms down, I'm not changing the look now! After I feel the pinch of paying for it, I have to then find someplace to lay out 8 feet long planks and get them at least double coated with paint. After painting, they have to be cured and flipped over. When painting, some of the paint drips down and creates little bumps on the back of the piece. This prevents the moulding from sitting flush against the wall. So, each and every little bump has to be shaved off with sharp blade. Fun stuff... Now, the beams are ready for installation. Ahh, the oh so fun installation. Yuck. For starters, it involves coping and other impressive yet tedious cutting. We also had to build a template to make sure that the angle is consistent the entire way down the wall. (I'm telling you, fun stuff...) Once all that is done, it takes a series of ladders, nail guns and anti-gravity boots to get the moulding adhered to the wall. The only step left is to fill the top and bottom with caulking to seal the seam and make it look "purdy." Only then does the crap moulding become crown moulding. Side Note: You may notice that I spell moulding in the typical English way, instead of the American way of molding. While I would LOVE to visit England, my spelling preferences have nothing to do with a presumed love of all things English. Instead it stems more from a stubborn refusal to put anything having to do with mold into my home, no matter if the difference is simple spelling. (sometimes my stubborness causes me an issue or two...)

Sunday, February 6, 2011


Here in Texas, we RARELY get snow and to get schools and businesses closed for a snow day is a rare treat indeed! So, when everyone had a day off on Friday due to ice, we had a blast. Now, if you're reading this in 12 feet of snow buried in the northeast, just remember that we deal more with 115 degrees plus waaaaay more often than we do with 30 degrees, let alone 16!

Zach was more than thrilled with all the snow, but didn't know quite what to do with cold hands!

Linen Closet

Okay, with the advent of the new year, comes a plethora of weight losing tips, organization ideas, and a general need to revamp your life. My minor effort in this was to re-do my linen closet. As a minor confession/excuse, I've didn't had a linen closet in the house I grew up in. Sheets went into the bottom drawer of a dresser and extra towels were stacked neatly in a basket. There was no closet space. Now, I have an entire closet for my linens. Yikes. What to do...

What you see above was the current state of my closet. It was full of mismatched blankets, rags, sheets, and then a couple of things such as a smoke detector and holiday decorations. The first step was pulling EVERYTHING out. My queen size bed was over-flowing with stuff. I then refolding everything, stacking similar items together. I sorted out mismatched things and made a separate stack for things headed to the garage sale. The rags got pulled and moved to the laundry room for easier access and better storage. I had used a Christmas giftcard from The Container Store (best store ever!) to purchase among other things, a couple of blanket and sweater bags. Clean sheet sets went into the sweater bags to make pulling complete sets easy. I used the blanket bags to store extra pillows and keep them dust free. With the crazy Texas weather, we use blankets randomly, so there isn't really much point in putting them in bags. Extra pillows, however, aren't used as much and I wanted to keep them dust free.

After getting everything moved back in, these are the final results. What do you think?

Friday, February 4, 2011

A Bit Flakey

After perusing blogland, I came upon this fabulous creation. I love the simplicity of it. RACKS & Mooby did a great job. As a Christmas accent it's really cute and simple, but I wanted something that would last longer than just December.

Besides, around here we RARELY get to see any of the white stuff. Just doesn't happen. (We have had some, but never more than 1/2 inch so we only experience the romance of snow, not the mess.) Even if I have to frame it on my walls, I want to see snow.

Off to Michael's I went. I too hit their sale stuff and picked up plenty of foam snowflakes of various shapes, sizes and glitter! (Love me some glitter...) I decided I wanted to put my flakes up in the same place I put my Halloween "decorations."

After getting more of the same blue shimmer paper I laid out my flakes dry fitting them before breaking out the glue. (A big thanks to Zach for helping Sissi with this project! I had snowflakes everywhere!)

Because my foam was going to be behind glass, I didn't worry too much with foam glue. Instead I used my trusty Scotch Quick Dry. I use this stuff for all of my scrapbooking and really recommend it. (Nope, not getting paid by anyone, just sayin'.)

After getting everything set just so, I repeated my design 4 times. Hey, I was tired and didn't feel like being original each time. Sometimes, there is no need to reinvent the wheel and that's okay! I love the final look.

What's really funny, is that when I put up the flakes, I flipped some of them upside down. Oops. While this goes against my anal tendencies, it really hasn't bothered me too much and I'm living with it just fine. Imagine!

Please admire the cleanliness of my living room. I promise you it was picked up specially for this picture and returned to "normal" shortly after it was snapped!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

A Piece of my Mind...

I am about to give you a piece of my mind. Please take this seriously, I don't have much mind to spare... ;) Construction companies need to listen to more women (and possibly men) in making their products. I'm not talking pink cutsie tools. I'm talking more along the lines of making tools easier to use, access and store. Ever try and put a drill back in the suitcase like container? Where exactly do they expect me to put the cords? Maybe I should YouTube it. I'm betting there is a video out there somewhere.

Take for example sand paper. If you buy in bulk, which I do, you get it in narrow cardboard boxes, granted, they are sturdy, but they have large holes in the front and back of the boxes for displaying their product. (I'm sure it also cuts down on their cost.) Now this presents a problem. I have never used an entire sheet of sandpaper at once. I always seem to have at least one square left over, that when I put it back in the box, falls out of the hole. Grrr.

This past black Friday, Sears had an advertisement for a sandpaper organizer. Brilliant!! The ad had it listed half price for $9.99 but didn't give a picture. When I made it to Sears, their organizer was a plastic file organizer. You want me to spend $10 on that? (In case you're new or have forgotten, my family lovingly calls me a cheapskate.)

Nope, not gonna happen. What was going to happen was sweetly asking my mother for an old file organizer she was going to recycle.

After trying the paper inside the organizer, I discovered it was a little tight. So, out came the scissors and I cut out every other "wall." Sorry for the poor picture, I need to work on my camera skills.

With my trusty Sharpie, I labeled the leftover walls with their new names. 60, 80, 100, 150, 220, Drywall Med, Drywall Fine & Specialty (mouse). Finally, I had a cheap easy to use system to solve the issues with my leftover pieces and unused pieces. It wasn't hard, it was just frustrating that someone wanted to charge $20 (full price) for it. I like using my tools and just wish there was an easier way to store and organize them without spending MASSIVE amounts of money. Anyone have any ideas you use to organize your tools??