24 posts categorized "Spring Fling 2013"

this house is driving me crazy

Let me start with an apology for how rambling this post is going to be; I've had too much coffee this morning...

I've never had a build like this fight me every step of the way before.  Almost everything that should be one step is two or three...things are done then redone...the plans have been altered so many times I'm not sure I'm going to recognize it when I'm done....sigh....

Because the upper cabinets didn't turn out and I installed shelves instead, which changed my lighting plan, the grooves I cut into the walls for the wiring needed to be redone.  I completed that, then after the shelves were glued in place they didn't line up exactly, so I have to do it again.  Once that's done and the wiring is in place I can glue the inner side walls into place.

The wallpapers didn't line up exactly right where they meet on the side wall, so I'll have to put a chair rail or divider of some sort in, after I put the window trim on.  I meant to put the window trim on the inner front wall before I glued it in place, but got ahead of myself.  I should be able to turn the house on it's side still, so I'm going to do that next, before I forget again.

The side walls bow out at the upper back corners to knock the house out of square (I'm sure there's a better way to word that, but you know what I mean).  I'm going to have to figure out how to fix that or the support for the back of the roof is never going to stay glued in place into the notches on the back of walls.

Once the wiring is done, the inner walls are in and I square up the house, I can put the roof on, finish the ceiling, and install the floor...sigh...my to-do list is longer than I'd like it to be this close to the Halloween deadline.

I didn't get a chance over the last week and a half to work on the house hardly at all...Wakefield was injured, so required the time I was planning on spending in my studio.  Something (a fox we suspect) bit one of his back paws, leaving puncture wounds and a broken claw.  An abscess caused his foot to swell up to four times its normal size before it burst (the abscess, not his foot!), and caused him tremendous pain.  After two trips to the vet, a shot of antibiotic, a shot of steroids, several nights with no sleep for either of us, and lots of snuggling he's doing much better.  It will take him some time to recover fully, he's just starting to put weight on it again, but the swelling is gone and he's resting more comfortably now, at least.



shelves it is

The stupid upper cabinets wouldn't work to my satisfaction.  My daughter tells me I'm a perfectionist, but doesn't think that's a bad quality.  Shelves it is.

Since the glass front cabinets were the centerpiece of my original design plan and they're not ending up in the build I took the opportunity to reexamine the project.  I had a few quirky ideas, inspired by some new scrapbook papers.  As I was trying the new papers out my daughter entered my studio to ask if I wanted a sandwich..."Mom, that print is too big, it's awful!"...she stayed for over a hour, our stomachs rumbling, while we went through my entire stash of papers.  After the new papers were chosen we decided on a floor color relatively quickly, briefly debated repainting the cabinets, then had a heated argument about countertops. She toned down my too quirky ideas into a mildly eccentric new plan. 

Here's where the kitchen is at this morning....


And here is Susan's gratuitious cat picture...


no news is not good news

I've made and discarded several sets of upper cabinets for the cedar kitchen.  I can't get the pin hinge holes right...even with the drill press!  I was ready to take the dollhouse out to the back yard last weekend to set fire to it, I was so frustrated

Susan counseled me to "throw a sheet over it for a day and make something quick and satisfying", so I took her advice...assuming that when she said "make something quick and satisfying" she really meant "drink Scotch, eat fudge, and go on a Netflix binge"...and that by "day" she really meant "week". 

I've got a new idea for glass front cabinets that doesn't involve pin hinges.  If I can't get that right this weekend I'm putting shelves in instead.


I didn't take pictures of the failed cabinetry, but I have a few others to show you.

Last Monday we went over to Matt's sister's house, along with the rest of his family, to have dinner and raid her over-abundant vegetable garden.  My brother-in-law the builder took me into his workshop to give me some small scrap wood he'd been saving.  Score!  Oak, walnut, koa, and others I forget...I need to learn how to identify which wood is which.   I can recognize and rattle off the taxonomic names of most of the trees in our area, but once the leaves and bark are removed from the wood I'm at a loss.

He was shocked when I told him how much I pay for strips of basswood, and told me to never buy it again, to come see him instead....that if I don't abscond with his scraps he'll use them for kindling.

The small strips, which are 1/8" square, fit nicely in a stoneware crock I purchased at an art fair last month.



Susan's gratuitous cat picture...


work on the cabinets is moving along

I haven't posted in the last week because I couldn't get pictures from my camera to my computer.  I finally found the cord to my camera this morning, thank goodness...I was going batty trying to determine what I'd done with it.

The island is made...


It took longer to trim out the sides and back than it did to make the door fronts....


I decided on a paint color.  I'm going to stick with my original plan to paint the cabinets green.  On a whim one day, at the office, staring out the window when I was frustrated with a particularly tedious spreadsheet, I walked across the street to the paint store to buy a sample pot of a brand new, prettier green.

I laughed at myself when I got home..it's almost precisely the green I was going to use in the first place.  Oh well, at least it was much more expensive (roll eyes).  This one is called  'seedling'.

I designed the upper cabinets to have glass fronts and be lit.  I learned from making the glass windows in the English Cottage Kitchen and the acrylic sheet greenhouse in the Michigan Lake Cottage that sandwiching glass or acrylic between wood is not very easy, very sturdy, or practical for pin hinged doors.  This time I made the doors from a solid piece of 1/8" thick plexiglass, with the wooden 'frame' glued on top, and the pins and handles inset (with heat) into the plexiglass.  So far it's working great. 

The protective film on the plexiglass was coming off, since I had to peel it back to glue the wood on, so I removed it, cleaned the plexiglass, then covered the doors with low tack painter's tape. I don't want the plexiglass to get scratched while I work, so the doors will stay covered until the final photo shoot when the kitchen is complete.

This is where the first of the upper cabinets stands now...a tangle of wires and clamps...

I tried to take a picture of one of the doors before I covered it, but I couldn't manage to hold the door with one hand, the camera with the other, and remain steady when I depressed the shutter button.  Here's the best picture I took...if you squint you can almost see what I did.

I painted the lower cabinets and installed the handles...


The side door on the end cabinet is where I'm housing the 9V battery that runs the lights.

Hopefully I can finish the first upper cabinet tonight, then get a good start on both the second and the range hood.  When I'm done with those I can start the cabinets for the other side of the room.  I've got to start kicking it into high gear...I just found out I have to be in St. Louis on business for a week in mid October, which knocks two weekends worth of build time off the contest deadline.  I'm not going to do sloppy work to meet the Halloween deadline, but I'd like to be able to enter the contest.  I think I'm far enough along now that I can manage it, if I push myself.


canning, oink oink, and cabinets

I mixed a bit too much resin to finish the window in the stove, so used the leftover to do some mini canning.  I canned in glass jars this time instead of in eraser molds...I like the results much better, though it's not as economical.

2259775-129627-bath-anti-cellulitis-spa-massage-kit-with-comb-brush-and-hairbrushThe three little solid color jars with labels are not jars, they're painted wooden pegs coated in clear fingernail polish.  I got a spa basket gift from one of our suppliers at work.  Does anyone ever use the silly wooden brush things?  I pulled the pegs out, they looked like good furniture legs.  I cut down three of the fat ones to have flat bottoms, then made them into peanut butter and jelly jars.


I picked up a few new goodies at an antique store.  The pottery looks to be hand made, but there isn't a maker's mark on the bottom....I've got no idea what I'm going to do with the flocked pig, but he was to adorable to leave behind....and the pots and pans aren't antique, but they were reasonably priced.

Awwww....look at that cute little face....

Mr. Oinker has a manufacturer's tag on the bottom....he was under ten dollars, so I doubt it means much.



Lastly, a picture of the cabinets started.  I had this niggling feeling of apprehension about starting them, which is usually my subconscious trying to tell me I missed a step when I planned them.  I put off starting them, letting them swim around in my brain for a few days, but never had an 'ah ha!' moment.  I can't progress further in the build until they're done, because my wiring depends on the final layout, so I told my apprehension to shush.  I got the faces almost done on two units, I'll start the face of the third tonight.  P7280014

The tan paint is a base coat, I haven't decided on a final color yet.  I was debating between painting  them the same wedgewood green I used on the Fairfield cabinets,  or, since I'm making this kitchen to sell, a beigy neutral....then I saw an episode of Kitchen Cousins yesterday where they did this...

Kitchen cousins

starting the cabinetry

Cabinetry is harder than I thought.  First of all, when I planned the build and made a cut list I somehow added 1/8" together five times to get 1/2"...which is pretty sad, considering I work with numbers for a living.  That problem was the easiest to solve; I whacked 1/8" off the bottom of the cabinet doors.

I built the base cabinets with pin hinges in the doors, which worked great the first time I opened them....but by the fourth or fifth time they ripped out of the back of the doors.  If the pins aren't in straight they move a little bit more each time the door is opened until they rip out.   I'm going to have to build some kind of jig to make sure I get the holes drilled perfectly straight instead of eyeballing it.

Also, the shelf at the bottom of the two drawers aren't at exactly the same height, and one door sticks out further than the other...all in all I'm not pleased with it, but it's not that horrible of a job that I'm going to throw it in the trash can.  For now I'm setting it aside for possible use in a project for myself later...I'm not as picky when I'm building something for myself as when I'm building something to sell.

Since the holes in the cabinet doors couldn't be repaired I glued the doors to the base.  As I was do so I realized that where the bottom cabinets are going to sit in the kitchen they won't be reachable to be opened anyway, which takes a lot of pressure off building the replacement set.  I'm going to have to figure out a drilling jig before I get to the upper cabinets, though.

(You can see the cabinets in the background in this picture)

After being irked by cabinets I changed course to build a couple of refrigerators.  The stainless looking one is for the cedar kitchen and the white one will go in the English cottage kitchen.  I wasn't happy with the first fridge I built for the cottage kitchen (which is probably why I never got around to putting handles on it), so I'll set it aside to tinker with later.   The new ones were made with a better material, a better method, and a different shade of silver paint...they turned out much nicer.  They won't be reachable to be opened, so I didn't bother to make them openable...they don't even have backs.

Now I'm working on a stove for the cedar kitchen.  It's going to be a bit different than the first one..stay tuned.  After that it's back to cabinets.

I will close with a gratuitous cat picture...for Susan.



almost to the top

There's only one more row of shingles to put on the front and two on the sides.  Hurray, I should be done shingling by the end of the day.  Whew!

I took a small break from shingling to reupholster a couch and make a cushion for a bench.  (Really, I made two cushions, the first was too thick.  I kept it in case I decided to build a seat for the front porch.)  I also got the screen door installed.  You know what helps to put teeny weeny hinges on with teeny weeny nails?  Beer.  Lots of beer.  I'm not looking forward to installing the storm door.

I didn't want to shingle in between the beams of the support truss, so I filled that area with strips of veneer, cut and glued to a paper template.  I had just enough, it's a good thing I didn't botch a cut.


I'm making a few touch ups on the corners, where I overlapped the shingles...sometimes they'd slip in the glue and come out of alignment when I taped them down to dry.

And...I made grooves on the inside walls for the wiring.


more progress

Shingling is very tedious work....glue a row on, tape it down to dry flat, wait for it to dry, take the tape off, reglue the couple that popped off, tape them down, wait for them to dry, take the tape off, sand the row, stain the row, wait for it to dry...then start the next row. 

I'm using shingles left over from the Fairfield...I didn't use them on the roof because I couldn't wrap my brain around the process.  In hindsight, it's a good thing I didn't use them on my first house, I may not have built a second...or a third, or a fourth....

While I was waiting for shingles to dry I stained and assembled the fence panels and the screen door, sanded and prepped the doorway to fit the door, and started cutting wood for the floor.