Friday, April 18, 2014

Bonanza of Junk

Last weekend I got a note from one of my Twitter pals over at Hirshfield's (my paint store) asking me if I could use a ticket to Junk Bonanza. They had an extra one.  I told them that I would love to put the extra ticket to use.

So, last Friday I buzzed down to Canterbury Park to check out the junk vendors.  I'm not a big buyer at these sales, but I love to look at all of the vintage merchandise and talk to the vendors. The people watching is also pretty spectacular.

I did manage to pick up a few items including some vintage zinc canning jar lids (I use them for storage in my kitchen) and a very cool brass garden hose sprayer ($5).


Monday, April 14, 2014

It's a Forest Out There

I drove up my back alley this afternoon to drop off two bags of recycling that were in the back seat of my car (It's been a long, hard winter here in MN that has necessitated driving trash and recycling to my back alley bins). Anywho, I was hauling the bags to the recycling bin when I spotted a huge bird sitting on my fence. I've never seen such a large bird anywhere in my neighborhood.

I ran back to my car and got out my cell phone and took a photo.  I was a little scared of the thing, so I wasn't able to get close enough to take a really good picture. It took one look at me and immediately dismissed me as a threat and went back to pulling on the clematis vine in my fence.  Evidently it wasn't only me that found this bird scary. I watched a usually brazen squirrel slowly back away from the bird with its head and tail down.

I'm not exactly certain what is going on with this recent influx of wildlife into my city yard.

My bird knowledge is limited to identifying an eagle, a blue bird, a crow and possibly a cardinal. But, one of my tweeps suggested that it could be a peregrine falcon and provided this link which seems to support the possibility.

What do you think? Falcon?

Friday, April 04, 2014

A Warm Glow

Nothing too exciting in this post.  I've written about the doors in my hallway before. Every year about this time, I put another coat of tung oil finish (which is  bit of a misnomer because most of this finish these days is really wipe-on varnish with no tung oil in it at all, but I digress).  My goal is to slowly build up the finish on these doors to a nice, soft glow.

In past years, I had put a coat on both sides of the doors in the hallway except for two of the doors - one going downstairs and the other upstairs.  This year, I added the outside face of door going upstairs.

This means I spent time painstakingly scraping off paint drops and then filling in and light spots with a Sharpie.  I then put on one coat of the finish. Because the finish had almost totally worn off of these doors over the years, the first coat disappeared into the wood immediately.  It will take many more coats before I starts forming a surface layer.

You an now see the nice glow from the finish that is developing.

The color of the doors looks so much more rich now and the grain is really pretty. Who knew?

Here is the door that I focused on this year. You can tell there is almost no original finish left.

Sunday, March 02, 2014

A Visitor

So there I was, all warm and cozy watching tv from my couch late one night last week. When all of a sudden I realized my car was parked on the wrong side of the street during a Snow Emergency.

For those not from Minneapolis, we have spent much of this winter dealing with snow falls. When the snow reaches a certain point, the city calls a "snow emergency" and we being a complicated three day process of moving cars from one side of the street to the other. Woe to the person caught with a car on the wrong side of the street at the wrong time. It usually means a lengthy bus trip to the other side of town and then shelling out massive amounts of cash to get your car out of the impound.

Back to the story. So, panic filled my heart there on the couch as I realized my car was already 15 minutes into wrong side parking. I raced to my coat and mittens, threw them on over my sweats and ran to my car.  Luck was with me as it was still in it's spot and I was able to move it over to the correct side of the street undetected.

I was walking back up my front sidewalk in the dark thinking about how I had tempted fate, when I noticed something out of the corner of my eye as I walked up my front steps. I stopped and looked at in the dark. It was sitting very still and looking back at me.

At first I thought it was a dog, but it didn't move when I took the next step up.  Then for a second I thought it was a raccoon, but realized that it didn't have the little bandit eye markings.  It was also far too still for a raccoon. I got within 4 feet of it and it sat there looking at me and then very slowly labored down the side of my step and slowly walked away towards my back yard.  I ran inside my house (ever the diligent blogger) and got my camera.

You have to look closely to see it. It was fairly large, had a pointy nose and a long rat-like tail.

More than a little freaked out when I got inside I called my dad, who has much experience with all things wild, and described it to him.  It was a possum.

Now we don't generally have possums in Minnesota. So, this identification was a bit surprising.  I asked my dad if possums were usually so slow in moving.  He said no, but the little guy was probably was not dealing with the cold well.

So, now I have been watching and worrying about my possum and how he is doing in this cold.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Out The Window

We have had a couple of very tragic building fires in Minneapolis already this year.  Yesterday, a fire in N. Minneapolis resulted in the death of 5 small children and a number of other people in that same family in the hospital with serious injuries.  It breaks your heart to see what happens when I fire breaks out in multilevel housing.

I moved into StuccoHouse at the end of October and that first year I received a Christmas present that has stayed untouched in it's box under a window on my second floor.  Its only recently that I've come to realize what a good present this was.

It is a ladder that hooks on a window sill and unfolds outside of the building bringing you much closer to the ground in the case of an emergency.  Mine is for a two story house, but they can be bought for taller buildings too.  They run in the ballpark of $40 to $60 on Amazon.  Money well spent, I think.

In taking the photos for this post, I realized that I had never actually opened the box and looked at the ladder itself. Probably not the greatest idea as I imagine the last thing you want to do in the middle of an emergency is sit down and read directions.

There ya idea for next year's Christmas presents.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

A Plan

If you have read my blog for a while, you know my dad is a retired structural engineer. He's been sucked into many a project at my house.  He has also listened to me over the years talk about how I would like to replace my existing garage. 

My garage is original to the house.While benign neglect worked for me in the case of my house, the garage did not fare as well. The interior concrete is entirely broken up and at some point someone hit one of the load bearing supports near the door.  So, the entire structure has a bit of a lean to it.  It is also quite small. So, small in fact that I don't park in it.  Ever.  It houses a lawn mower, a fertilizer spreader, a bunch of garden tools, shovels, lawn furniture and a motorcycle. That's about it.

So one day a couple of months ago, my dad surprised me with structural drawings for a new garage.  He drew up specs for both a generous single stall and a generous double stall garage. The exterior can be either wood clapboard or stucco.  All my choice.  Both drawings include a little built-in gardening bench in the back. Cute.

I now have the drawings. So when I get around to actually getting serious about the garage, I have a trusted design to use to get bids.

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

To Catch the Falling

A reader on my last post asked what type of cart I put to catch clothes in the basement below my laundry chute.  Shortly after adding the new little chute trap door, I bought this R. B. Wire laundry cart off of Amazon.  It holds "2.5 bushels" which sounded like a lot to my untrained-to-odd-measurement-methods mind.

It's a little up there is price, but is one of those purchases you will have to only make once in your lifetime, barring some freak laundry accident. 

If I had to do it all over again, I'd consider ordering the 4.5 bushel cart. Then again, the larger cart is quite a bit more expensive and just doing laundry a little more frequently than once a month also does the trick.

The one item I wish the cart had was wheel locks. Otherwise the cart is great. One day when I have more time for crafts, I will sew a cute little cotton liner for it....

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Down the Hatch

I've mentioned my laundry chute in past posts, but I don't think  I've ever posted pictures.  It was an unexpected discovery we made when I first moved into the house. It is on the floor in the linen closet right outside of the bathroom. In fact, my mom who was helping me clean had to tell me what it was. 

I grew up in a house with a laundry chute, but it was on the wall in the bathroom and dropped down into the laundry room below. When I was about 5 or 6, I tried to talk one of my friends into sliding down it. 

About a year ago, I spent some time sanding down the wood walls of the chute itself and putting a finish on them. I still didn't put the chute into use and used the floor of the closet for storage instead.

This past summer I saw a piece of plywood in my basement and it struck me that it was about the size of the hole.  I had some free time, so I put a few coats of amber shellac on the board and installed a little knob handle.  Then I put the chute into use.  I love it.

I have a set of hinges for the door waiting to be installed.  For now, the little door just sits over the chute and that works fine. There also is the remnants of a hook and eye set on the shelf above the chute that would have held the little trap door open.  I may add a hook to the little door (using the vintage "eye")  to once again allow it to stay open.

In the basement there is a little trap door. Since I've added the little door above, I've started leaving the basement trap door open.  At one time it operated on a elaborate pulley and spring system, that looks like it opened and shut on the weight of clothes being sent down the chute. The remains of the system are still down there.....and at some point, I'll probably try to get that up-and-running again.

It's one of those little quirks that make living on an old house enjoyable.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Nailing It

Remember this whole conversation?

Well look at this perfect solution:

Merry (early) Christmas to me.

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