Wednesday, May 27, 2009

A Round Of Applause For The Band

While Ed was gone this week I managed to get two whole rows of shingles up. What a frustrating experience! It takes me forever to do things that he makes look so easy. Simple things like nailing the ledger board up took me forever. Hammer, check: nails, check, ledger board, check. Oops. forgot to measure, so set it all down and reach for my tape measure. Somehow it always stays clipped on Ed's jeans, but it's fallen off mine, and I have to find it. Ok now, measure..crimony, where's my pencil? Then check the line and make sure it's level. Miracle of miracle, it is! Ok...where'd I put that hammer, do I still have nails? Like that. Two rows took several hours.

The farm chores don't stop just because we have a building project to work on. The grass in the pasture was getting pretty long, in some places as high as the tractor tires, so off with their heads! Ed mowed half of Sunday and half of Monday and got all three fields cut.

Monday afternoon and Tuesday, we worked on shingles. It's much easier when you have someone there who knows what they are doing and is comfortable with tools.

By quitting time on Tuesday evening, we had enough shingles wrapped around to give us a good idea of the look and I have to say, we're getting pretty excited. The shingles against the green trim looks really good., and is a color combination we will be happy with for a long time.

Ed has been working alone on this project for a year, and sometimes he feels like he isn't making the progress that he should, or that he should be further along.
Dude.. you're a one man band playing all the songs.
Just look how much things have changed in that year!

This week, we listed an ad in the paper to sell the double-wide, hopefully to have it off the site by end of August, first of September. Then this apartment will be home sweet home through Phase II of the project.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Will I Measure Up?

The weather has been springlike, which means rain followed by glorious moments of sunshine, followed by rain, accompanied by explosive of growth by anything with chlorophyll.

For the most part, the rain isn't particularly cold, and is only occasionally windy, so depending on the project, work can continue.

On a particularly windy and rainy day, Ed started making the eave brackets. These are cedar, stained not painted, and there are 14 of them for the garage. They are going to look awesome!

While Ed was gone last week I painted the green trim around the garage doors and the lower windows. That way, we can start shingling. Ed made a board ledge thingie (I'm sure there is a name for it) that keeps the line of shingles straight and exactly 7" from the row below. That's assuming of course, that you put the ledge board on correctly. Then you can line the shingles up the way you want them, and go back and shoot the whole row in. Then, every three rows or so, check all your measurements, level and plumb, and continue. Simple, yes? You're talking to the woman who measures a yard of cloth by holding it from one shoulder to opposite fingertip. It is now my life's work to shingle while Ed is back at work.
"Just measure," he says, "You'll be fine."
I sighed heavily.

I want to do it right, and I want it to look good. But the whole process is a little scary to me, being out of the realm of prior experience. Guess I'll just jump in, and if I mess it up, nobody dies. I'll just take it out and fix it.

We know that the best practice is to hand nail all these shingles on, but.. really.. If I were Bill Gates, I'd hire a crew of 15 or so to do that, but it's just Ed, who is gone half the week, and me, who hasn't a clue what I'm doing, so we're gonna shoot em in. We're using a Senco SCN49 nailgun with 2" 6D hotdipped galvanized nails. We have 80 psi on the compressor and the nails go in like a hot knife through butter.
We were interrupted by Abby's sudden discovery of a porcupine. It was her first, and hopefully last encounter. Six quills to the nose was a painful lesson to mind her own business.

By yesterday afternoon, we had a few rows of shingles up and it's looking good! This morning Ed went back to work and I'm on my own. The sun is supposed to come back out this afternoon and be nice all week so the pressure is on.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

They Are Such Fauxnys!

While Ed was gone this week, I worked on the faux painted carriage doors. After staring at pictures of real doors on the internet, I worked up the courage to paint the shadows. Amazingly, it worked!

My mantra was "underneath and on the right, underneath and on the right", thus putting the light source to the west which is where it is in real life. It did a fair job of making the doors look three a painty sort of way.

Remember all that glaze with black paint that was so horrible as the glaze coat for the rails and stiles? I used that stuff for these shadow lines. I taped the straight lines off, leaving about an inch, sponged on the lines and then immediately took off the it was sticking anyway...(see prior chapter). That way it wasn't a solid black line, but sort of mottled. I had to free-hand the curves, and with a sponge, it ain't easy.

Hallelujah! Sunshine this least after the fog burned off. By 0930, I was out with my paper handle and hinge stencils and went to work. I knew that trying to tape the stencils up and paint was not going to work, so I kind of held them up and drew them in with my trusty construction pencil. Once they were all drawn in, I took the black paint (unadulterated) and some cheapie art brushes and started in. No major problems there, except my stencilling wasn't always exactly the same for each one. How can that happen!!?? Oh yeah..the tape wouldn't stick and I drew them in. Once I got them all painted, I added a few details, like the screws and some curve marks on the handles. They still need some fine tuning with a teeny brush, but I'm pretty happy considering it was the first time I've ever done anything like this.

Which reminds me, tomorrow is Mother's Day, so it is time for a little motherly advise.

Just Try

I had never painted anything artistic...ever... No art classes in high school, convinced I couldn't draw. When I retired I told myself I would try new things, even if they sounded silly or hopeless. I signed up for a local Bob Ross painting class, and while the method isn't my favorite, the painting was a blast. I had a wonderful instructor, DeDee Crouse, who has since moved to Machias, New York and has opened up a business there, Black Sheep Art and Antiques. The moral of the story is, I was afraid to fail, and I wound up having a really good time.

Do they look so real that you'd reach out for the handle? No. But if you're that critical, you might want to go read some other blog. I'll come back with a little brush and neaten things up, make the door handles exaaaactly the same length..stuff like that.

In the meantime, from the road, the doors look pretty good...better than the white-on-metal that they were. Once the neighbors stop laughing, they can pass by with affection and say "Look what those people did to their garage door!"

Just wait until all the shingles are on! I can hardly wait. Oh..wait.. I'm the shingler. Tomorrow is supposed to be nice for the first part of the day, then cloud up and rain the rest of the week.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Chapter 2:The Pumpkin Changes to a Carriage

Now that the plumbing is signed off, Ed took the last steps to hook the sewer lines to the live septic system. Once that was done he shoveled all that dirt back into the trench. And take it from me...well actually from Ed since he did the work... when it rains hard for two days, that dirt is really heavy!

He had so much fun shoveling all that dirt he went right down to the pasture and started digging out rootballs for cucumber vines. For those of you not familiar, cucumber vines are Washington's version of kudzu vine. They have rootballs as big as a Gold's Gym Exercise ball. He dug some of them with the backhoe on the tractor, but some of them were in inaccessible areas, so he dug them up with a shovel. Needless to say, at the end of the day his back was pretty sore. I volunteered to walk on his back, but he declined saying that probably wouldn't be a good idea. Whatever could he mean!?

In the meantime, I was having fun pretending to be the Fairy Godmother, trying to turn the Cinderella garage doors into carriage doors.

I bought Valspar Ultra Premium exterior paint. It's thick, high quality paint with very good coverage. I chose Pale Cordovan for the base coat, and Natural Cork for the contrast (rails and stiles). I also got a quart of black to mix in with the tint and glaze for the wood grain definition, and for detail painting later. First I painted the base coat. We wanted it to look like cedar. After the base coat dried, I mixed 1 qt glaze with 2 oz of the Pale Cordovan, 2 oz of the Natural Cork, and a splash of black . I rolled that mixture over the base coat, in 3' sections, and wiped it with a damp rag. Once that was dry, the pumpkin effect was toned down a little, and there was a little definition to the grain.

Sunday after church, I got my grid and my pencil and started drawing the design. Once I had all three doors drawn out I spent the last hour putting tape on the first door so that Monday I could get up bright and early and start painting. I was stoked!

I got up Monday, went out to start painting, and almost every single piece of tape had come right off and was in a heap at the foot of the garage door. Between the rough surface of the door and the humidity, the tape had just floated to the ground. That turned out to be a good thing because had I tried to roll the paint with the rough surface, the paint would have bled under the tape and been a horrible mess. I just got out a brush and followed my little pencil lines, and painted the first coat of contrast. I was pretty happy with how the first coat came out...a little light on the color, but I was thinking that when I put the glaze coat over it, it would be fine. So I did all three doors, and went to bed dreaming of an equally charming Tuesday.

The next morning, I got up, did some household chores, and went out to paint. I mixed one qt of glaze and 1 cup of black, the recommended ratio, and began to paint. For the glaze, you paint on a small section, say 3', and texture, in this case, wipe with a slightly damp rag. Well the darned stuff was really really black. So I wiped some off, and then wiped some more off. I finally got it to where it didn't look like an old tire, and went to the next section. By the time I had half of one door done, Ed and I agreed this was not what we wanted. Now what? Do I just put on another coat of the contrast coat? Do I drive two hours to go get a different color? Do I fiddle with the paint I have to see if I can make it work? Yeah! Let's try that! There was about 3/4 of the gallon of the contrast color, Natural Cork left. I stirred in about 1 c. of the black, and started to re-paint. Well, that worked out just fine! So I went ahead and painted all three doors with that mixture, and we're pretty happy with the result. As you can see, the sun came out to bless the doors, which is pretty amazing since we have had over three inches of rain in the last four days. Rains here all the time.