Jersey House: fixing up an 1899 house in suburban New Jersey

Jersey House: fixing up an 1899 house in north jersey, without killing each other, or the house, or the cat.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Bead Simple

Bead Simple
Originally uploaded by susanstars

Yes, yes, I know I owe an update on the kitchen! It's only been, oh, seven months since I last updated? I'd love to say it's because we've been SOOO busy working on the house, except, yeah, not so much.

But! in the interim, I have a shamless somewhat-self-promotion-though-not-really post--

Bead Simple, the GORGEOUS new book from Susan Beal of West Coast Crafty is out from Taunton Press (a favorite of many a diy-er and house blogger, I know). She's created a ton of beautiful designs for all kinds of fabulous beaded jewlery--seriously, this book is nice and thick and gorgeous--and I'm one of the guest designers for a

Susan designed 150 projects, and let me tell you, her instructions are some of the clearest and easiest to follow of any crafty book I've encountered (and I've encountered a bunch). It also helps that she's got impeccable taste in jewlery!

There's a flickr group already, and Kayte over at This Love Forever has a giveaway of the book going on right now.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

wow, we totally suck.

You'd think summer = more free time for house stuff and house blogging stuff, right? Yeah, not really.

We did finally get the beadboard and most of the trim up in the kitchen, and I did manage to paint 90% of it, as well as slap one coat on the walls before hosting my friend's bridal shower, but really, that's about as far as we got.

And I STILL! can't find the damn cable to the camera to download the photos. STILL! I suspect Henry the kitty has stolen it and squirreled it away with some of his precious treasures. Like the carcass of the fuzzy catnip mouse I found on the bed the other day looking all the world like a hairball.

Meanwhile, I really need to focus on getting things done. I have this problem where when a project is nearly done I get distracted and decide to oh, I don't know, make a quilt out of fabulous Amy Butler fabric, or embroider curtains for the kitchen.

(but they're so cute! see?
and I'm half way done outlining the birdies with red and then I'll band it with aqua....uh oh. See where this is heading?)

Monday, July 16, 2007

remember the last post, wherein we measured for beadboard?

Well, we bought the beadboard, which was a bit of an adventure in itself. And I primed the whole damn kitchen (ugh), and then Jonathan installed the beadboard, again, an adventure in itself, which I will leave to him, as we actually have! pictures! for once! (that I still haven't unloaded off the camera. it'd help if I could actually find the cord).

And this past week, I've put two coats of paint (Benjamin Moore Simply White--matches Ikea Lindingo cab color almost exactly) on the beadboard. And then realized that the plywood beadboard paneling really ought to have been sanded smooth before this.

Yeah. I'm smart. S-M-R-T.

After much cursing and kicking and scaring the poor wee kitties who had really better start learning that paint does not equal delicious cream. Better late than never, I grabbed this:

It's sad, because the mouse has recently been replaced as my one true love by the heat gun (with which I stripped the window casing paint), but I do love this thing. Even if after an hour of sanding (with the shop vac hose right there) my hands were all TWIIIIIIIING!-y for pretty much the rest of the day. But I got the rest of the dust with the tack cloth, and now the damn panels are smooth and ready to paint. Again.

Next up?
More kitchen! pictures! of stripping (paint)! and other things! Like cap molding! and essentially making our own 1/4 inch quarter round the hardest way possible because we're too lazy to go to the faraway lumber yard! And homegrown tomatoes! including the vine that's taller than me!


Tuesday, June 26, 2007

adventures in skimcoating...

well, I've finally gotten off my ass and gotten to work on the kitchen (yes, the unfinished kitchen that has been unfinished for almost a year now, as we have done exactly zip on it since Thanksgiving)!

Where had we left off? Why, what a good question! We--meaning I--had stripped off about 1/3 of the wallpaper on the remaining two kitchen walls not covered with cabinets. and that was it.

First, I stripped off the remainder of the icky wallpaper, which took surprisingly little time, but still enough time and effort to remind me that WE ARE NEVER PUTTING WALLPAPER BACK UP IN THIS HOUSE. Seriously people. the freaking handstenciling was way more entertaining, and does not require stripping and scrapers and all that crap that I really really want to be done with right now.

(the house disagrees with me. I still have the spare bedroom, the powder room, and the faux green marble monstrosity on the third floor. I am not even thinking about the painted over wallpaper in the bathroom. I think it may be easier to gut that puppy to the studs. I am not kidding.)

And once the wallpaper was down, I broke up any loose plaster, secured it with plaster washers and screws and a shit-ton of fiberglass tape over the cracks, holes, gouges, etc. That took another two hours or so.

And then the skimcoating. I went through 1/3 of a 5 gal bucket of joint compound, and ran out to get another 5 gal bucket. Which I also ran through, relatively quickly, I might add. So JBB ran out for yet another 5 gal bucket. I finished up the first and primary coat, and then enlisted JBB's help to run a damp sponge over the wall to help smooth it.

(See, my uncle Bob pointed out last thanksgiving that damp sponge over drywall mud = much much less sanding. And I hate sanding. Hate hate hate. So, thanks uncle bob!)

The next am, I hit any low spots with a second coat, and again with the sponge. And voila, smooth(ish) walls with no cracks! Now I just need to prime pretty heavily to help give the joint compound a little more hardness.

We also measured for beadboard. And finally decided that yes, we will be putting about a 4 foot wainscot of beadboard (painted white) around the kitchen. Not only will this help keep the room visually unified and allow us to pick a nice bright color for the top without feeling like we're living in the circus, but it'll help protect our nice smooth walls from getting the crap dinged out of them by the insane cats and the doorhandles.

Course we gotta install it first.

Monday, June 04, 2007

hey, know what's fun?

coming home from work on a rainy day to find a 15 foot branch from the magnolia tree hanging across the sidewalk--still attached to the tree mind you.

so forty minutes later, there I am next to a big ass pile of 3 foot chunks of tree and leaves, wielding the 20 foot tree pruner and japanese pull saw, chatting with my neighbor about which one cuts better (he was duly impressed at my insanity).

I wish I'd had the forethought to take a picture beforehand, as the pile is not nearly as impressive as the dangling branch, but really, considering I was out there in my silk shirt and fancy jeans that wasn't going to happen. I did stop and change into my converse though.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

getting ready

ok kids.

this weekend i pruned the hell out of one of the lilac bushes, and partially pruned the hell out of the other one. there's still a ton more to cut away, but pruning is like crack, it's so addictive.

and in other news, it's almost Memorial Day! which means it's almost time for me to have 1/2 day summer Fridays!

which naturally means it's time for me to ...
a) finish the kitchen, which entails...
i) striping the rest of the wallpaper
ii) repairing and skimcoating the walls
iii) picking a damn paint color already
iv) putting up the luan, and then tin ceiling backsplash
b) window fixing!
i) first kitchen window, taking it apart, stripping it (heat gun! whoo!) and reglazing
ii) bathroom window
iii) our bedroom windows
c) cutting all the crap out of the yard and if we have time
d) powder room demo and redo

We'll see how much of that I actually get to, considering the first summer friday will be a boozy margarita lunch.

Monday, May 07, 2007

organizing thoughts

You know, the comment on my previous post about my office/craft room got me thinking about practicality, and how that word means different things to different people.

Poor John, I hope he doesn't think that I don't appreciate his well thought out and thoughtful ideas! I do, I promise! It's jsut that you inadvertantly hit on something that has been a bit of a thorn in my side for a while now...

Specifically, the reccomendation to ignore Blueprint for a while in favor of researching craft storage in craft magazines. This statement tells me right off that John and I aren't really on the same page when it comes to craft magazines. Or maybe he hasn't seen Blueprint?

Why are there so few places that take both how something looks and how it functions into consideration? I think this is why I responded so strongly to Blueprint layouts, Martha Stewart's own personal brand of anal crazy, and to Adorn's gorgeous and practical layouts.
With the exeption of Adorn, and possibly Craft magzine, craft magazines do not fit with my own sense of aesthetics, not to mention the extreme amount of ugly chaff you have to sort through to find the one bit of wheat-potential. I've already tried and rejected the "go to Michaels and by a cheap piece of ugly molded plastic that won't quite fit for the space and probably won't fit your supplies anyway" approach.

Too many places go for plastic everything, with no thought to design. I'd like to work in a room with some sense of elegance, not a room covered in clear and white plastic crap. Or worse, brightly colored plastic crap. Organization TV shows also never seem to take into consideration how people function in a specific space. Dump stuff into a shitload of ugly rubbermaid containers and cover the whole shebang with a curtain. Well, curtains are wickedly impractial coverings-they get dirty and dusty and look sloppy. And for me, hiding everything in a plastic bin is far from useful. There's no good way of accessing your supplies, short of knocking a towering stack over.

Design sites and magazines are even worse. The first suggestion is to throw away your stuff ( commenters are horrible in this respect). Gee, thanks. That's already been done. It's not clutter; it's supplies, dude. Bet you don't have a pantry either

The second suggestion is usually quite pretty and wildly impractical, ignoring how crafting items need to be stored both for ease of use and for maintaining integrity of the item. The comment on the previous post suggested using a wine bottle display to store yarn, which is a gorgeous and creative idea. But alas, it's more appropriate for a window display than actual everyday use. (a large footprint for very little yarn; you'd need to store yarn as skiens, not as balls, knocking out all yarns that come in balls and any yarns that you've already balled up on the winder as "ready to go"; can't keep your dye lots together easily; yarn shouldn't be stored out in the open air like that as dyes are prone to fading with UV light, it exposes the fiber to potential moth and bug infestation, not to mention dust and the cats. )

but a non-fiber person wouldn't know all that. And again, poor John, I don't mean to slag him for trying to help. It's a great visual idea, and exceptionally creative reuse. It's just impractical for a fiber collection.

So now I need to go look at the reqirements of my supplies, then head off in search of the pieces that make the cut. I think the tall worktable will be the most problematic.

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