Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Cooper's new bed

I've already told the story of buying and stripping apart the bedroom chair that was to be Cooper's new bed. Turned out taking the thing apart was much easier than figuring out how to reupholster it again. I had no idea what I was doing.

Cooper anticipating completion
So I did what any self-respecting crafter does - I winged it. I wrapped the chair in batting then used  duck canvas on the frame. I had to do a lot of folding and tacking to get the heavy fabric to follow the curves of the chair. I also had to keep reminding myself that this was going to be a dog bed and that I never intend to upholster again. It didn't have to be perfect and I wasn't learning a permanent new skill. It was supposed to be fun dammit! Cut yourself a break!
Trying to fold around the leg. Argh.
I had a couple of old wool car blankets that I wanted to use as the cushion cover. But first I had to cut a new foam cushion to fit the shape of the chair - remember the old chair was horse hair and wool, no foam back then. What a total pain in the behind it is to cut foam. I used a long bladed serrated knife and really struggled. I've since learned that an electric knife is much easier to use.

Rather than actually make the cushion cover permanent I decided to just wrap it around the foam and tuck it in tight. If it ends up getting pulled out then I'll make a slipcover but I'd rather not cut the blanket if I can avoid it.
Nearly done.
I called Chris in to take a look and Cooper trailed along. And immediately checked out her new chair.
Is this mine?
Yup. It's mine.
We put in by the wood stove and she's been loving it ever since.
You can see in the photo above what I did with the second wool blanket - I folded it into a lumbar pillow. I think it makes the whole thing look more finished. I'm calling this project a success - just ask Cooper.

Sunday, January 21, 2018

What the game camera caught

12:30 in the afternoon on a gorgeously clear and cold day (January 15th; 15F). 

Isn't he beautiful?
We cropped in and centered just a bit and it's a great picture of him. Unfortunately it was also the only picture of him despite the short reshoot setting on the camera. He must have heard the camera shutter and scooted off before another shot could be made. We've had a heck of a time capturing the coyotes on camera as they're so wary and quick to take off. 

Saturday, January 13, 2018

January Thaw

Hooray! The January thaw hit on Thursday. We still had a foot of snow on the ground and the subzero temperatures of the past month (yes, December felt like February this year) had dried out most of the moisture. Couldn't even make snowballs for Cooper.

Thursday was warm though with a temp of 46F and we started to see some melt-off. The solar water panels started to clear though the solar PV stayed covered. Amazing how the snow clings to those.

Friday was even better - we hit 57F and things really started melting. The PV cleared off, the snow level dropped to 6 inches, and I walked Cooper while wearing a short sleeve shirt. So weird. Unfortunately it also rained like crazy - great for clearing the driveway (we can see gravel now) but disappointing for enjoying the temperature. We did get to open some windows to air out the place and  it made it easy to build the walls in the bathroom since we could leave the bridge door open. That's where we've got the miter saw set up and we got to easily carry boards in and out for trimming.

The temp this morning? 24F and ice raining. *sigh*

Monday, January 8, 2018

Planning the upstairs bathroom

Yup, after 5 years we're finally going to create the upstairs bathroom. It's served us well as a storage space - too well. I had to clear out boxes and boxes of stuff and then figure out where the contents should be permanently stored. One thing about a house with no basement, you have to really curate your "extras" since you have no overflow storage.

Anyway, the bathroom; here are the design thoughts. It's 9 feet by 7.5 feet so lots of square footage to mess about with. I've got an antique sideboard that I got from my Mom way back when - that's going to be turned into the sink cabinet. I've got a salvaged sink that will hopefully fit without too much rigging. If it turns out not to work, then I'll buy this one instead. So that's the sink and associated storage sorted.

The shower (no tub) will be 42"x42". We had that size in our old house and loved it. Large enough not to bump your elbows but small enough to hold in heat. Plus that gives us room for a framed closet on the shared shower wall. Nice! [Kick yourself note: I really should have planned more storage space upstairs. We have clothing storage but no miscellaneous storage for upstairs vacuum, suitcases, etc. This closet hopefully solves that issue but if we'd wanted a tub up there we'd really be screwed.]

There is a vent that sits directly above the wood stove and gets great air flow all winter long. Towel hooks will be installed on that wall and we'll have warm towels every morning! We'll also vent into the closet so that we have an airing cupboard like they do in England.

We've picked out sink faucet, shower controls, lights, and towel bars. The floor tile has been ordered (white penny tiles with a black tiled rug pattern), the materials to build the shower and closet walls have been purchased, we already own the white subway tile for the shower stall, the toilet was installed long ago, and I bought light gray paint for the walls. So we're just waiting for the shower pan to arrive and we can officially start construction. Sounds like a good winter project to me.

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

It's going to be a...

Many years ago I bought a velvet covered bedroom chair at auction for $5. It had great bones and the upholstery was in good shape. I knew I'd get some good use out of it. And I did. But great use is hard on a chair and it was looking really ratty. So I decided to take it apart and see if I could do something fun with it.
Uncovering those bones
Wool batting
Extremely well constructed 
Now what? 
Let's lower the arms
Much better profile for... 
Cooper's new bed!
Obviously I'm in the process of reupholstering it. I've reattached the arms, inset a plywood base to support a new foam cushion, and added batting to the bottom edges. Next up is strapping to support a back cushion then more batting around the arms and sides. Finally I'll enclose the chair sides and back in dark blue duck canvas and use the plaid wool blankets to cover bottom and back cushions. Assuming I can get Cooper out of it of course...

Monday, January 1, 2018

Loving the snow

Cooper loves getting out in the snow. This time of year our walks are filled with snowballs flying into drifts and skittering down the driveway so she can chase and kill them. And if we're distracted or busy, well she'll just throw them herself.
It's here somewhere... 
I think I got it
There it goes!
Don't let it get away!
Ta dah!
It's mine!
Huh. It's here somewhere...