Friday, August 29, 2008

The Boot Rack

As some of you may remember I was working on a boot rack in my spare time, usually a couple of hours in front of the old boob tube before bed, over the last few weeks. Well, I finally finished the majority of the work on it and thought I would share pictures of the mostly finished product. The carved pieces are for gloves to be hung and dried where as the bottom shelf is for shoes and boots. I'm still debating on whether to add a couple of spikes on the bottom to hang boots upside down on.

The entire rack is made from cedar and is being left raw to add a little fresh scent to the back room. The glove spikes are made from 3/4 x 3/4" cedar nailing strips. The wood carves ok but tends to chip and break if you are trying for small detail, like Ivan's Moustache. Besides the bead stack there is also two single bead spikes that have been dubbed the "drumsticks" by PeterC.

Goddess Figurine

Stacked Beads

Horse Front and Side

The Left and Right facing Wizards

Monday, August 25, 2008

And We're Done

Finally the cloak room is finished. Now I can get back to my regularly scheduled routine of cleaning the house and working on my art. I spent the day Saturday finishing up the finicky bits and started setting up the room Sunday. It'll probably take me another week or two to get the room organized and arranged in such a way that I am happy with it but the WORK is done. Yea!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Window Casings Installed

With a final push this weekend we managed to get the rest of the mouldings installed. Now we are down to all the finicky painting and caulking. As it turns out I'm a far better painter than caulker. I tend to make a mess of it, even when I am trying so hard to be neat and clean. I'm not sure how I got the job of "make it pretty" but I'm doing my best. Once the white paint and caulking has been done I will have to go back over it all and touch up the walls. I promise pictures but only after the pretty work has been done.

On another note, I picked about 10lbs of beets from the garden. It isn't enough to run the canner so I am going to freeze them. I found a good Harvard sauce recipe on for freezing. All I have to do is leave out the butter and put them into 2 or 3 cps containers. It'll be nice to have beets this winter when the ones in the store are so terrible. I love fresh beets. With any luck I'll get beets from now until the first freeze and they will all be frozen, or canned for winters use.

The pumpkin has taken over the beans but it isn't really a loss. It's been so wet and cool here, especially at night, that we have developed a mouldy blight on the plants. They aren't going to produce much more this year and what little they do produce may not be worth eating. The only beans doing well are the pole beans, the Cubanos and Scarlet Creepers, and they are doing really well. They are a shelling bean so we won't pick them for another few weeks.

We've been trying to attract Hummingbirds for the last few years. In fact they are the major reason we plant Scarlet Creepers every year, attracting hummingbirds and the beans are good to eat. This year we finally had a little Ruby Throated Hummingbird buzzing around the garden. We saw him last week and decided to put a feeder out. He seems to spend the day moving between the Creepers and the feeder. Hummingbirds are just to cute.

Monday, August 11, 2008


We spent the day yesterday working on the cloakroom, regardless of the thunderstorms that moved through just as we were ready to make the first cut on the baseboards. At least we got the vinyl down before the rain started. We got all the baseboard done, the exterior door done, and a really good start on the interior door.

We decided to go with the whole "Victorian" look for the cloakroom, which means we used a specific style of moulding for the baseboards and the casing around the doors. We used rosettes and plinths for the doors and corner pieces for the baseboards. This allowed the work to progress much faster as we had mostly 90º cuts to make.

We got rid of the mitre box and pulled out our chop saw to do the cuts this time. The cuts were much smoother and went a lot faster. Even the couple of 45º cuts worked out better, as long as I didn't brain fart. Let's just say it was a good thing we bought extra baseboard moulding.

Luckily, we were able to salvage the ruined pieces for under the doors. We cut the wide edges off the moulding and used them to cover the underside of the door. It lined up so perfectly on the exterior door that it looked as if we actually knew what we were doing and not flying by the seat of our pants most of the time.

The interior door isn't finished yet. When we drywalled the wall around the interior door the wallboard was just level with the old extra wide mouldings. We left them in place to act as the frame. Unfortunately, because the frame is so wide we had to come up with another solution for the casing. We chose to use a 4" moulding and rosettes of the same style as the exterior door. Then to bring the casing level with the inside edge of the frame we are going to add a piece of moulding that will be flush with the outer casing and slope inward toward the door.

It's the inner piece of casing that still has to be added. We suspect this will be quite tricky and require some really fancy cutting to make it line up all the way around and look like it all belongs properly. There are going to be some interesting trimming, notching, and of course 45º cuts to make the pieces frame the door correctly.

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Catching Up

We haven't managed to get a lot done on the cloak room this week. PeterC's schedule has changed again at work and I can't do either the flooring or the moulding by myself. I thought I could but apparently I left my superhuman abilities somewhere else. Maybe I need to get myself a super-suit or something.

What I have done is get a couple of coats of urethane on the sills and table. Unfortunately, it looks like I will have to sand the last coat off on all three and redo it. The urethane ran on the sills and I have these ugly lines with bubbles of urethane at the ends. The table is another story. The squirrels figured out how to get into the garage, to raid the seed bins, and left little squirrelly prints in the fresh coat of urethane. The seeds have moved back into the house.

In other news it has been brought to my attention by PeterC, and several other blogs, that Canada is screwing the aboriginal children, yet again. The Minister of Indian Affairs promised to build a new school on a remote reservation, after the last one was closed because of diesel contamination from a spill way back in the late 1970's, but has since backed out of the deal. You can read more here. Perhaps we need to look for other solutions since the Canadian Government can't be bothered. Even in Australia widely separated children living in the outback are provided schooling via the Internet and ham radios. Surely, it isn't to much to ask to provide a school for a whole community.

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Oak Window Stoop

We decided at the beginning of this project that we were going to make oak window sills for the windows. We like window sills, the cats like window sills, and we thought window sills would look good with the new inserts. We decided on oak because we wanted a good sturdy wood that would hold up against the claws of jumping and slipping cats. We could have chosen maple, and almost did, but maple did not come in a piece deep enough for us to have 6" deep stoops after the edges were routed to shape.

Today we got the window sills started. We started with 39" x 8" pieces for each window. The window frames are very narrow so to give us a 6" deep sill we had to notch the sill so it can be slipped into the frame up against the window. PeterC routed the front edge so it would be rounded - bull nosed - and cut the notches to fit each frame. Once he finished with that I took over and sanded the wood smooth and applied the first coat of stain to the tops of the sills.

We still have to stain the other side of the sills, as well as the cut edges, and we have to add an exterior, marine grade, urethane seal over the stain. The urethane will dry into a nice hard finish that will protect the wood from cat scratches but because it is an exterior urethane it will protect the wood from humidity and water in case we get water coming in the windows some day.

While PeterC worked on shaping the window sills I worked on altering an existing piece of furniture to perform two functions at once. We had a table PeterC built last year that is used to store the bins of birdseed on. This makes the bins high enough to easily fill the feeders and we could store stuff underneath it as we saw fit.

Because we burn wood for heat we also needed a place to store a two or three day supply of wood inside. Originally I was going to make a new piece of furniture but decided that it would make the cloak room to crowded. Instead, I took the birdseed table and added cross pieces to the bottom so we can stack wood under the table, thus getting two functions from the same footprint of the table.

The cross pieces are made of cedar to resist rot. To further protect the wood I stained it the same colour as the window sills. Once the stain is dry I will seal it using Spar Urethane, a marine varnish that dries to a very hard finish that will protect the pine table top from being dented. I also plan to carve something into the front crosspiece to connect the table to the decor of the rest of the room.

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Crown Installed

The Crown Moulding is installed and it looks pretty good. It took us about four hours to cut and install and I have to admit that the nailer worked out really well. We used nailing strips behind the crown so we didn't have to nail it along the bottom only. We started out trying to make our own nailing strips from ripped 2 x 4s but for some reason our table saw wasn't cooperating with us. As luck would have it I had purchased some cedar nailing strips for another project so we used those and once they were nailed in place we were in business. The hardest part was cutting the angles the right way. Luckily, we had some extra moulding or we would not have finished it.

While we were working on the crown we noticed a squirrel sneak into the garage and climb into the bins we keep the birdseed in. We chased him out but not before he managed to stuff himself silly. A little while later I caught him resting his bloated stomach and watching us work in the heat and humidity. He is really cute and I don't mind having squirrels in the yard, for the most part. I do mind when they start raiding the birdseed storage bins. I guess we'll have to put the bins back on the back porch once we are finished with the flooring and mouldings and hope they don't chew through the screens to get at them.

Before we started on the crown moulding we spent some time working on the garden and cleaning up the clothesline. I had hung two large loads of clothes out earlier and for some reason the line busted and all the clean clothes hit the ground. We joked that we had gremlins but I hope that isn't the case. We have far to many mechanical things around here to have gremlins causing havoc.

Anyway, while cleaning up the clothes we noticed that the volunteer pumpkin had become a monster over the last few days. It was covered in early morning blooms and looks like it wants to take over the whole garden. There were plenty of bees moving between the blooms so hopefully we actually get some pumpkins from it. The tomatoes, just barely visible under the pumpkin leaves are blooming and we even have a couple of small green tomatoes. You got to love volunteer vegetables.