Friday, September 11, 2015

Sealing the floor (again)

We originally sealed the concrete floors during the construction phase of building. It was great! No walls, just a clear slab that made it easy to apply the cleaner, wash it off with a power hose, and then apply the sealant. 

Unfortunately it then rained for six weeks straight. I'll give that sealant credit - it tried. Water beaded up for a long time. But eventually it just couldn't take it and failed. And the surface of the concrete roughened a bit making it hard to mop and easy for dirt to catch in the surface crannies. Nothing horrendous, but frustrating when you're trying to keep the floor looking decent.

Re-sealing the floor meant moving everything off it. Ugh.

Cooper doesn't like us moving her couch
Emptied out the living room, dining room, and kitchen
Everything got taken out. Even the kitchen island and cabinets. And it all had to go somewhere.
My Room *sigh*
And the porch is full again
Then we applied the cleaner/degreaser, scrubbed vigorously, and mopped with lots and lots of water. The water washing bit is why we decided to do this now - we're about to install baseboards and didn't want to get them coated in chemicals and water.
It's fun - really
It actually went quite well. Application was straightforward and we put on two full coats. Then we had to wait 72 hours (!) before we put back any furniture or rugs. We were able to walk on it and it was obvious with every passing hour that the finish was getting harder and more durable. How could we tell? It kept getting more slippery. I now have to be very careful walking around in socks and the animals act like they're on ice.

We chose a low-lustre finish with no color to it. We didn't want to acid stain as I am a scaredy cat who fears that it'll look really bad. I've seen too many bad DIY jobs and once it's done and you hate it, you're screwed.  Plus most of the stains leaned toward some shade of brown and I'd rather have the natural concrete grey. Besides, it'll just get covered up with rugs.
Can't really tell can ya?
You can see some shine in this shot
All-in-all, a good experience and one I hope not to repeat for years to come. Now you'll have to excuse me, I've got to go buy some no-slip rug pads.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

What's been going on (or miscellaneous stuff)

We've been working on a variety of projects that needed finishing up or that will continue for a long time and just needed a bit of progress.

Firewood is always a biggie and we've actually been working on it since March. We now have 680 (136 feet long times 5 feet high) square feet of wood versus the 648 (162 x 4) we put up last year. I realize that this isn't how anyone else in the entire world calculates wood volume but it seems to fit with our stacking methods. This way we don't have to worry about carefully keeping dimensions consistent we just measure when we're done. Close enough is good enough.

The garden and CSA have been keeping me busy with preserving and cooking. My cucumber patch produced prodigiously this year and I've been putting up sweet pickles and even succumbed to the lure of a new dill pickle recipe (I stink at making dills). I also cooked down and froze pizza sauce pucks (an idea I got here), made peach jam, picked and froze blueberries, and struggled to keep up with all the fresh veggies from the CSA. Let's hear it for lo mein and quiche for using up lots of produce.

Canning sweet pickles
Everything in the fridge lo mein
We continue to work on laying the stone patio. This is a project that will take a very long time to complete so we just keep chipping away at it. It helps to be using huge stones. Unfortunately they are also usually thick - we managed to partially split this one and it's still massive.

At least it covers a lot of area
While all the furniture was out of the house for the great floor re-seal I took advantage of the space to do some planning on the mudroom. We intend to do built in cupboards and boot benches and all that nifty stuff. Pinterest has been a huge help here and has given us lots of ideas.
Storage behind, boot bench in front
Varying depths for cupboards
Cooper has been her usual helpful self. She keeps occupied while we're doing boring stuff like floors and trim...
One focused dog
What she's focused on
So very close...
...but she's always willing to lend a paw to help out. I laid out a down comforter to look for spots that needed repair and she got involved immediately.
Am I helping?
I've also been working through my project stash in an attempt to actually get a few things done before starting new projects. Each Sunday I pull out three things that need finishing touches or small amounts of time (mending in particular) and try to get them done before the next Sunday. I've managed to get quite a few nagging projects out of the pile and put away. Doesn't always work (I knit very, very slowly), but it does focus my attention.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Window trim

We've been living without window trim for 3 years. First we had to cut down the trees that would form our trim. Next we had to wait until the portable sawmill could arrive to cut the trees into boards. Then we had to wait for the wood to air dry. Finally! It was ready. 

Here are the naked windows:

Living room - bare! 
Kitchen - naked!
First, Chris planed down a few boards and we tried different sizes to see what style we liked. Once we had that, we stained a few boards different colors - a semi-solid black and a red mahogany. The semi-solid black matches the stair risers (seen here) while the red mahogany matches the living room half wall (here).
Black with a classic oak sill board 
Red mahogany with red mahogany sill board 
We liked both of them quite a bit but ultimately decided that the red mahogany tied the two sides of the room together. And it would tie in the kitchen as well. So, red mahogany it was.

Except, I really liked the black! So I decided that My Room was separate enough to have something different. And black trim went up in there.
Ahhh, black trim!
We kept the classic oak color on the interior boards of all windows and will do the same for the door facing. That way the house maintains some color consistency. And, of course, these colors repeat throughout the house.
I really like the two-tone effect
 The trim made a huge difference in how the windows looked.
The look huge now!
I asked Chris to build a couple of spice racks into the East wall windows. They don't get any sunlight so storage conditions are good and they are so wonderfully handy right next to the stove (but away from the heat). I keep all my cooking spices there now (baking spices are kept in the island).
Note the spice racks
 The living room windows, already very large, now look enormous. And quite attractive.
Nicely framed
The deep sill boards let me keep plants or nicknacks on the window. Or, you know, let the cat nap there without fear of falling off.