Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Living off the Grid

If only we could somehow harness all this energy...

Note they can't even keep themselves warm we have to provide them with a space heater. (rolling eyes)

Lovin' my Pantry Cabinets!

The doors are on the cabinets, and I must say I LOVE them, love em, love em. They might not be everyone's taste, but I think they're perfect. It's a good thing we have a simple country farmhouse cause I've got simple country tastes. We still need to add the crown molding to the top, then it will be time to start finishing. I'm hoping to be able to do a simple stain/antiquing/shellac treatment. We'll see.

The board and baton style doors match the original cabinets here in the house perfectly. Remarkably, we were able to find the little hook things that keep the doors shut tight at Lowes. They really match the hardware well.

And I already love the open shelf, that's certainly going to come in handy.

Didn't my talented hubby do a good job? Leave a comment and tell him how good he is. (Poor man's gonna be stuck building a whole kitchen of these things some day.)

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Fire In The Hole!

The making of a blacksmith continues. Last weekend a very nice gentleman from The Indiana Blacksmith Association stopped by and delivered the forge we purchased from him as a surprise for the kid. He even brought along some coal so the budding apprentice could use it right away. (They are such nice people.) So today the guys headed out to christen the new equipment. Unfortunately, the nice gentleman didn't leave instructions on how to get the coal fire going.

It seems it's a process of trial and error. (Kids, if you're watching this at home, do not put your hand in the fire like my husband is doing.) But where there's a will, there's a way. Through sheer determination and a lot of hand cranking it eventually started looking like this.

And as you can see by his goofy-as-all-get-out grin, the kid is happy. And that's really what it's all about, isn't it?

For now the forge will stay here in the garage under close adult supervision, eventually we'll grab some strong strappin' guy to help haul it down to the barn. Then his blacksmith shop can officially open for business.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Greetings Earthlings (insert waving hand here)

Bet ya thought I'd been abducted by aliens, huh? I only wish. An all expense paid trip to Mars would be a welcome vacation at this point. Nope. I filed our taxes, was appalled by the amount of money we donated to shoot that satellite down and then spent a couple weeks going over all our finances to figure out how to pay less taxes. I do this every year. It never works. Paying taxes always makes my blood boil. Fortunately I married a Canadian who likes to remind me that it could be worse. I like to remind him he has to go to sleep sooner or later and comments like that at a time like this could put him in a world of hurt.

It's also the time of year to start thinking about the next school year. We'll be doing high school. Four more years and my baby will be grown. I've been out of the workforce for five years now, so it's time for me to refresh my career skills and head back to school. Yep, this fall I'll be a full time college student, thanks to modern technology and online classes. Once it's all done, if I have any semblance of sanity left I'll make someone a mighty fine accountant. Yep, accountant. I'd rather stick a fork in my eye EVERY DAY than go back into IT or telecommunications. Given today's economy it would be a good idea for the two of us to diversify our careers. Just after the Sept. 11th attacks we were both in the land of the unemployed IT staff for a very short time. That was scary. And who knows, if I study accounting maybe I'll stumble across a way to pay less taxes.

Friday, February 8, 2008

1902 Edition of Sears, Roebuck and Co. Catalogue

Got one. Actually, a reprint of one published in 1969. I'm thinking about ordering some latches and hinges from it. It states right in there on page 3 "This one book, if preserved, can be used for sending us orders and for reference for several years." According to the eight pages of ordering instructions I can even ask to have them shipped express. While I'm at it I may go ahead and order some paint. It's only 98 cents per gallon.

It's been fun looking through this. It's such a great reference for what life must have been like when this house was built. I'm surprised at how many things in here I actually own. My kitchen table, an old oak secretary, some odds and ends. There's also a whole bunch of stuff I wish I owned. And a few I'm glad I don't, such as Dr. Rose's Arsenic Complexion Wafers. Um, Hello? You're turning pale because your about to DIE.

Ah, here's a cast iron tub for $24 and a farmhouse sink for $11. I'd better get my order form ready. I don't suppose I could order them online?

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Meanwhile, back in the pantry...

...the quest for the perfect hardware continues. The old adage, they don't make 'em like they used to rings true for almost everything around here. The cabinet hardware is no exception. The hardware on the cabinets in the dining room, which used to be in the kitchen, has obviously been replaced at some point. So we can't really know for sure what it looked like to begin with, even after getting down on my hands and knees for a super close inspection of the blemishes left behind by the first set. But we can look at the hardware on the china cabinet. It's most certainly original and the coppery finish matches all the door hardware in the house. Of course we can't just run down to the local big box store and pick some of these puppy's up. No, that would be too easy. People crazy enough to tackle an old home restoration are also crazy enough to spend hours studying the hardware here, the hardware in the pictures of my Aunt's pantry and surfing the internet for WAY, WAY too long to finally have come up with these.

Not an exact match, but as close as I can get it without mortgaging the farm. Er wait, we already have a mortgage. Well, you know what I mean. Glad that's settled. Now I can get back to important stuff, like blogging and reading other peoples blogs.

Which brings me to a question Scott over at Bungalow Monster asked. His eagle eye noticed that the beadboard backing didn't cover the entire back wall of the pantry unit. That's because one of the things I noticed about my Aunt's pantry is that it sure would be nice to have an open shelf/counter space available to set things down. Especially since this is also a mudroom area, I'm thinking keys, mail, etc. So we decided to give it more of a step-back cupboard look. Similar to what's in the picture here.

The beadboard in the upper part is structural, giving something to nail the long boards to. Otherwise too many cans of beans in the middle of the board could send the whole thing crashing down. And we don't want to spill the beans now do we?

Monday, February 4, 2008

First Impressions

I was not impressed with the error message I received when I tried to open and print this weeks lesson plans this morning.

I was impressed with the speed of the response from the tech support at the software company.

I was not impressed that the file was so corrupt it could not be repaired, rendering our entire school year into oblivion.

I was impressed that I didn't send the e-mail I really wanted to send back to tech support.

I was not impressed that the three months it took me of planning, finalizing and documenting our entire school year was wasted.

I was impressed when I remembered I had a partial copy on my laptop.

I was not impressed that I had to redo everything from late November through May.

I was impressed that after four hours I was able to at least print this week's assignment sheet.

I was not impressed that it should have taken about four seconds.

But at least we are able to continue today's study of The Black Death and all it's gory details.

We certainly wouldn't want to miss out on THAT.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Building A Turn-of-the-Century Pantry

The white melamine cabinets that the previous owners installed in the old pantry didn't exactly blend with their surroundings. In fact they looked down right, well, cheap. So they were relocated to the garage and recycled into a gardeners bench.

Since this house never had a pantry to begin with it's difficult to imagine what would be "age appropriate". But luckily, we just so happen to be related to a certain unnamed individual who has a farmhouse built about the same time as ours. I'm keeping her unnamed because if she finds out I posted pictures of her pantry on the internet for the ENTIRE WORLD to see, she'll never let me here the end of it. (Seriously, the woman still reminds me about stuff I did when I was three.) Anyway, the cabinets look remarkably similar to our original kitchen cabinets. If you really look at the design though you can see it could use some tweaking. Full-width doors for instance so you don't have to pull everything out to get to the ends of the shelves.

Oh, and while I was visiting her she was stripping the wallpaper in her dining room revealing the original faux linen paint finish and stencil. You can see there was picture rail at one time too. This is what I'm planning for our family room someday. Well the molding and the upper stencil. I'll probably skip the smaller one.

Oh yeah, back to the pantry... after studying the photos, looking through all of our cabinetry books and scratching our heads and tapping our chins for a while we came up with a plan. Sort of. We're still winging it as we go to some degree. Last weekend the bottom section went in. Today was the day to move in the top piece. It's 83 1/2 inches wide. And weighs about 6400 lbs. OK, maybe not that much but it's REALLY heavy.

To say getting it into the room and up on top of the other was a challenge would be a bit of an understatement. I have to admit, there was some foul language involved. But as you can see...

It all worked out in the end. Now on to the face frame and the doors.