January 23, 2012

The Story Behind the Latest Project

Remember the back door we put in three years ago? Well, it leaks, and has leaked probably since the very beginning. The first time it happened, I told Hubby he put the door in wrong. I know, I know. It was the wrong thing to say and I knew it the minute it came out of my mouth. So naturally, he dug in his heels and refused to even talk about redoing it. Eventually though, he relented and agreed to redo it when we put on the dining room addition. And then that kept getting put off.

As time went by, I just stuck a towel in front of the door every time it rained and tried to keep the water from spreading. That didn't really work though because the water ran down the grooves between the tile. After a heavy rain, there was a musty, wet-wood smell, and after being gone from the house for even a short weekend, a strong, moldy smell hit me when I walked in the door, and the smell inside the bar cabinet was also really strong. But the last straw was right before Christmas. While mopping the floor, I saw something that looked like marshmallow cream growing between the cabinet base and shoe molding. It was a fungus, the indoor version of toadstools I suppose.

So at a time when I should have been baking, shopping, and cleaning house, I was on a mission to find the mold and get it out.

Since the bar section was a separate unit, I thought I might be able to just unscrew it from the wall, pull it out, and put a couple of legs under the bar until we did the big remodel. But of course, nothing is ever as easy as I think it should be. The cabinets were screwed into place from the top before the counter was put on, and no other way to get to the screws. On to Plan B, if only there was a Plan B.

So I did the next best thing, and decided to start the kitchen remodel. We had never finished the kitchen fifteen years ago. After ripping off the wallpaper, I just slapped some paint on it to cover the rips and gouges in the sheetrock and we planned to do walls and trim when we did the addition. The addition that never happened.

This is what happened next.

And the bar cabinet? When we finally got it out, this is what we found.

The cabinet had a stack of drawers on the front side, and a single door on the back side, under the bar. The damage was contained to the back side next to the wall, and the base. That was good because I wanted to rebuild the cabinet, reusing the drawer stack and making a pullout with part of the carcass that had been in the corner.

It didn't take long to cut off the damaged side of the cabinet, pull off the base and rebuild it. Then I started stripping. I finished that this afternoon and tomorrow I start sanding.

The best part is that we were gone for a few days after Christmas, and when we walked in the door, the house smelled fresh and clean. Yes!

So now you know what I've been doing lately.


Strip Tease

I know I haven't been posting much lately. Another project is taking up my time. I'll tell more about it in my next post. This is just a teaser.

It's not going well either. I started with Citrustrip, and while it worked, it still left a lot of finish behind. So I bought Stripeze, and it didn't work any better. In fact, it didn't work as well. And neither of them removed any of the old stain. You probably can't see in the second photo where there are big streaks of dark stain where the cabinet joined in an "L" with another cabinet.

So it's back to stripping for me now. Thanks for taking a peek.


January 18, 2012

Dear Congress

I have concerns about the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and Protect IP Act (PIPA). I understand that online piracy is rampant, and have experienced it myself, but these acts are not the answer. These acts will impose unfair censorship on many innocent websites such as wikipedia and google, websites that compare and review products, blogs such as mine, and forums where people gather to exchange ideas.

There are already laws in place to protect copyright, so let it be. Don't censor me.

I don't want my blog to look like this:

Today I want to show you this amazing Pottery Barn Knockoff. Annie from Knockoff Anyone (made up blog), shows how to take an ordinary piece of cardboard to create a dough bowl that is so realistic that you won't be able to tell the difference. The cost at Pottery Barn? $250. The cost of Annie's project? Zip. Zero. Nada.

When it should look like this:

Today I want to show you this amazing Pottery Barn Knockoff. Annie from Knockoff Anyone (made up blog), shows how to take an ordinary piece of cardboard to create a faux dough bowl that is so realistic that you won't be able to tell the difference. The cost at Pottery Barn? $250. The cost of Annie's project? Zip. Zero. Nada.

For more information about these proposed bills, read here.

Then, write your congressman, sign this online petition, or both.

p.s. This is a duplicate post from my other blog.

January 16, 2012

The List

Thea at California Dreaming made a list of things to do in 2012 instead of making resolutions. I like this as they don't become broken resolutions, and I would like to join her, albeit late with my list. So here it is, in no particular order.

Edited January 27 to add more to the list, after I found a huge ToDo list on my fridge.

1. Make a new friend
2. Join a quilting circle - DONE
3. Learn to dance
4. Make curtains for Lil (before her comforter wears out)
5. Take a photography class
6. Join a church
7. Replace door trim on garage
8. Get fireplace inspected
9. Get attic door blanket
10. Finish Jacob's ladder quilt or recycle it
11. Finish pillow shams for my bed
12. Make wrap quilt for my bed
13. Fix drawer in antique chest
14. Finish window trim on porch
15. Paint porch ceiling
16. Walk a half marathon
17. Rebuild console table top
18. Repair and refinish old desk
19. Learn turned needle applique
20. Make curtains for den
21. Repair wall crack in corner bedroom
22. Finish laundry room cabinet
23. Raise dining table top or sell table
24. Refinish den table
25. Declutter old VCR tapes
26. Get old family videos transferred to DVD
27. Move or replace broken sidelight
28. Get mom's sewing machine serviced
29. Get grandmother's ring resized
30. Locate and clean refrigerator and freezer coils (4 appliances)
31. Build shoe rack
32. Refinish bedroom picture frames
33. Paint entry
34. Build shelves in living room
35. Rebuild & refinish kitchen bar cabinet
36. Rebuild & refinish kitchen pantry cabinet
37. Refinish and switch kitchen upper cabinets
38. Replace drawer slides on old kitchen drawers
39. Repair kitchen faucet
40. Add water line and filter for ice maker
41. Learn website software
42. Organize printed photos
43. Cull out unusable wood in buckets
44. Put up pictures in den
45. Frame dog pictures for Brownie
46. Learn to use router
47. Learn to use picture framer
48. Propagate sage
49. Find tv antenna for attic
50. Find a way to conceal bedroom tv
51. Build drawer dividers
52. Volunteer at a hospital
53. Prune apple trees
54. Do something about the light on the corner of the house
55. Fix rototiller
56. Caulk shower
57. Get foundation examined
58. Fix wall & ceiling cracks in kitchen and master bed & bath
59. Finish laundry cabinet and doors
60. Replace outlets and switches in master
61. In spring, exterminate for carpenter ants
62. Repaint hall bath & get Hubby to paint base behind toilet
63. Find a place for quilts
64. Find a sewing corner


More Signs for Your Viewing Pleasure

Or just for mine. What can I say? I get a kick out of signs.

For those of you who wanted to know why Andy Griffith dropped out of show business.

And you thought your parents had a wacky sense of humor.

Is it legal without the red stripes on the lane? Oh wait, what lane?

Not just any fill dirt, it must be FIELD dirt.

Would that be a trailer reconstruction test?


January 09, 2012

Firefox and I Are About to Have a Parting of the Ways

I have been getting this popup for quite a while.
Closing and reopening the application makes no difference. Updating made no difference. Uninstalling the old version and installing the newest version made no difference. Some websites load like cold molasses, especially if they have big photos or music. And I've had enough.

The problem is that I have a ton of favorites saved onto Firefox. You know how easy it is to save something to either read thoroughly later, or save as a future project idea. The annoying thing about my favorites list is that I can't tell what is what just by scanning the list, and have done repeat searches for things I thought I saved, only to find that I really did have them saved, but the title was so obscure I missed it.

So I started a new blog for all the neat tutorials and patterns I saved, coincidentally called Tutorials and Patterns, and I am transferring everything else to another website favorites list.

I also joined Pinterest. That has been a trying experience as well. I don't really understand the appeal of it, but I've noticed on my sitemeter that a lot of people are pinning some of my projects, especially the headboard bench, so I thought I'd see what it was all about.

For one thing, if you go to the Pinterest main page at pinterest.com to request an invite, it takes weeks to get it. If you know someone, it just takes a few minutes. They say the enrollment is easy, but of course it wasn't for me.

Here are the screens that walked me through the process.
The first screen:
So there's the first problem. You have to have a Facebook or Twitter account. I have a Facebook account, but it's got my real full name on it, including maiden name, and I didn't want that on there. So I opened an account for this blog. Then went back to register at Pinterest.

The second screen:
Easy enough. I put the email for my new Facebook account, and it's password.

Next screen:
Well, alright, that was easy. Apparently I'm registered and logged in now, right? Just a few of those fill in the circle pages and I'm good to go. On this page (in case you can't read it), Pinterest asks permission to post to my facebook page as me, and to access my data at any time I am not using it. Well, I certainly don't want them posting to my facebook page and pretending to be me, and I don't know why they need to access my data either, so I clicked the "Don't Allow" button.

Next screen:
Ok, that's odd since I've already done this page once. I didn't know if I put the wrong password in before, or if I'm supposed to make up a new password now, or what. So I put in my Facebook password again, it took me again to the screen that said they wanted to pretend to be me so they could post stuff to my Facebook, I clicked "Don't Allow" again, and back again to the Facebook sign in.

So it dawned on me that the deal is, either I agree to let them impersonate me, or I don't get to play in their backyard. So the next time, I clicked the "Allow" button, and was taken to a page to put in my name, choose a Pinterest password, and all that. Then there was a button to click to get started.

And this was the next page:
I tried again. Same screen. And again. Then I gave up.

The next day, I tried again, and managed to finally get on.
This was the next page:
What?!!! They signed me up as follower to twenty people. Twenty people I didn't even know. So I promptly unfollowed.

Now the next thing is to download something that will allow me to pin a picture with a simple click of the mouse. Unfortunately, I was using Firefox at the time and didn't see the point of downloading something when I was going to uninstall Firefox as soon as possible. But I did check out the site, and went to my profile or main page, or whatever it's called, only to see that they had linked this account TO MY PERSONAL Facebook account! With my whole name and photo. AND there was no way to delete the photo. I have no idea how they made that connection, unless it was by cookies or my first name only, or both. The Facebook account name was different and the email was different.

I also saw that a lot of people from my personal facebook account had followed me, and Pinterest had, in return, followed them for me. So I unfollowed all those people too. Then I went to my personal Facebook account and deleted my photo so it would disappear from my blog's Pinterest page.

What a pain. So I'm not really thrilled with Pinterest right now. I can see where it is nice to have all the related projects in snapshot photos in a collage that is easy to see, and so much easier to click one time and have access to the tutorial. It's just that whole invasion of privacy thing. That and I don't like being told what to do unless it's by an employer. And even then....Photobucket


Another Crossroads for Pawpaw

Saturday, Pawpaw had a bad day. A really bad day. He had had a bad night, was so disoriented that he tried to get into bed with his roommate, and had trouble distinguishing between his dreams and reality. He has delusions of being in jail and being physically attacked by the nurses. When my mother-in-law got there sometime after noon, he asked her who she was. Even after she explained, she wasn't sure he ever really knew her, and she cried all the way home.

January 08, 2012

The Best Hamburger in Texas

During a recent trip, we happened to be in Vernon, Texas at lunch time. Usually, when Vernon is our lunch stop, we pull off the freeway at one of the few fast food places on the service road: McDonald's, Braums, Subway, or KFC. We usually try to time our trips so we don't have to stop in Vernon. But that day I needed to go to the courthouse to do a little research, and it was just before noon so we had to eat there. But this time, we decided to see if there were any other restaurants near downtown, and there happened to be a restaurant right across the street from the courthouse. It's name is Three Hearts Steakhouse. It's on Pease Street. I don't know if that's pronounced like Peace, or like Peas, or like Peasy. But it's easy to find because it's the only restaurant across from the courthouse.

Knowing that my little research often turns into several hours, we agreed that Hubby and Brownie would go eat while I began my research, and they would buy me a burger to go when they finished and I'd eat it on the road as we left. I wasn't quite finished with my research when they came to get me, so I spent a few minutes explaining what I was looking for and sic'd Hubby on the Probate Records while I went to the car to eat the now cold hamburger.

It wasn't quite cold. It wasn't hot, but still a little warm, and oh so delicious. I'm sure the bun was homemade, slightly sweet and flavorful, and grilled just long enough to be lightly browned and crispy on the inside while the outside was still soft. The meat was black angus and cooked perfectly. Hubby ordered fries but the hamburger came with homemade potato chips and they were yummy too. I ate every bite of the hamburger and just about every chip. If they were that good just warm, my mouth waters to think what they must be like hot!

Hubby and Brownie had fried chicken and said it was wonderful also. One of Hubby's side dishes was green beans and he said they were sauteed, tender, and very tasty. Brownie said her side dishes were great too but I can't remember what they were. Sorry. Since I had the camera with me, Hubby couldn't have taken pictures even if he had thought of it, which he probably wouldn't have.

From now on, I'll plan my trips so that Vernon is my lunch stop instead of the place I try to avoid at lunch time. If you are going to be within fifty one-hundred miles of Vernon, it's worth the time to stop at the little restaurant across from the courthouse.

Disclaimer: I'm not being paid to say this, have never met the people, and never heard of the place before a couple of weeks ago. This is just a recommendation from the heart for the Three Hearts Steakhouse. YUM!

On our way out of the Dallas area to go on that trip, we stopped at the bank in Arlington, and Brownie begged to go to In and Out Burger. Branches of that California chain have opened in several metroplex locations, and they are always packed, with long lines. So of course Hubby and I said no. We were in a hurry and didn't think any hamburger was worth that kind of wait. (That was before I had eaten the Best Hamburger in Texas.)

But after we got back from our trip, Brownie and I were out exchanging Christmas presents (yuck), and I agreed to stop at In and Out Burger. We got a Double Double for Hubby (two meat patties and two slices of cheese), a Cheeseburger and Chocolate Shake for Brownie, and a Hamburger and fries for me. Before we even got out of the car, I told Brownie it would probably taste like every other fast food hamburger, only with some weird California ingredient (no offense meant Californians). Sure enough, their standard hamburger came with a special sauce made of ketchup, mayonnaise, sweet pickle relish, and chopped onions. This is Texas, In and Out, we like mustard on our burgers.

So we special ordered all the burgers, two with mustard and no onions, and one with mayo and no onions (what can I say, Brownie is a rebel). When we got our order, Brownie's burger had mustard, not ketchup. Not as bad as having that special sauce though, so I traded her my clean bottom bun for her mustard-laden top bun, and all was well for her, and while not fond of a lot of mustard, I managed to eat it. The buns were grilled a little too long unless you favor blackened buns, but they weren't too bad.

Brownie's chocolate shake was definitely lacking in the chocolate department, but we were on the road before she tasted it. It had just enough chocolate in it to make you wonder if it was chocolate or vanilla. My fries tasted ok, but they had an odd texture, sort of like they had been dehydrated, but I doubt they were. Probably frozen like every other fast food place. All in all, the hamburgers were okay; in fact, they tasted a lot like Steak and Shake which we really like. McDonald's has better fries, and almost anywhere has better shakes, at least better chocolate shakes. I think the reason the restaurants are so popular is because they are cheap. The burgers are fine but given a choice of a cheaper burger and long line at In and Out Burger, or a faster trip through Steak and Shake, I'd take Steak and Shake. Their shakes are better too.

Disclaimer (although I'm sure this isn't necessary after the above review): I'm not paid to say this, nor do I have a beef (pun intended) with the chain. Just my opinion after eating there.