Friday, November 19, 2010

Stripes of All Kinds

The first set of stripes involves stairs!  The first two coats of espresso bean brown have been applied and I'm waiting for it to dry before applying paint to the other steps.  That won't happen until Monday probably.  I'll be very busy next week.  The kids will be at the grandparents for a few days and I'll be diy-ing as much as I can while they're away.  Call me crazy, but I kind of like the steps like this from this view:


You should see us doing the "every other step thing" around here.  Up is no problem, but down?  Not quite as easy!  I just about killed myself trying to take a basket of laundry downstairs this morning. 

The second set of stripes are the Noro kind.  I started on a set of Elizabeth Zimmerman Mitered Mittens for the BFF and have been working on it during car pool rides and other places where mindless knitting is called for.


Don't you just love the colors?

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010


So there I was freaking out about the stain on the steps when I heard "Mom, there's blood!"  followed by a sneeze.  I rushed to the living room and there on the floor was a huge amount of blood, but the victim wasn't one of the kids, it was our geriatric dog (she's around 18 years old or so.)  When I got there, she had moved about six feet away, to the nice new living room rug.  Yeah, can you see where this is going?

I grabbed some paper towels and was cleaning up the first mess when I hear another sneeze, followed promptly by two more sneezes.  This dog had the Mother of All nosebleeds.  Before we could corral her, she had left two more sneezy, bloody messes in two more rooms (including on the dining room carpet.)  Yuck.

We (the kids and I) hit the mass panic button and finally got her hemmed up in the kitchen where at least the floor would be easy to clean.  While this was going on, I rushed to call my Sis-In-Law who worked at a vet's office for years and is our repository for all animal knowledge in the family.   Then we got to work cleaning up all the mess. 

The poor dog's nose was gushing blood and was really gross, poor thing.  We laid down moving blankets, made her comfortable and made sure she wasn't going to die on us over night and went to bed.  First the steps disaster and now the dog one.  I was completely stressed out by this point. 

The good news is, she's fine.  The vet kept her all day under observation, gave her antibiotics and there's been no more nosebleeds.  The bad news is that not one person knows what caused it and it could happen again at anytime. Yep, two hundred odd dollars later and the vet is clueless.  

Being a pet owner is so much fun.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Plan B

Plan A - was to stain the stairs.  Plan A will now have to be abandoned I'm afraid.  Now let me begin by saying that this is not the first time that I have stained things, so please believe me when I say that I am not an incompetent beginner.  That being said however, this project did not turn out like I expected.

Evidently, the sloppy paint was A) oil based and B) had over 30 years to really get into the grain of the wood.  Also, there are traces of adhesive that were not apparent to the eye that has also gotten down into the wood.  You could spend a million years sanding these boards and they still wouldn't turn out right.

I used a hand sander, a palm sander, two detail sanders and a belt sander at various times on these stairs.  It's not the lack of sanding that caused problems.

I did two steps and then stopped due to these results:

It makes me sick to my stomach that they turned out this way.  They're polka dotted for heaven's sake!  They look worse in person, trust me on this one.   I abandoned the project, left all my tools and crap in the foyer and walked away to try and come up with a solution.

So, on to Plan B.  Paint!  Well, first primer, then paint.  I went today and picked out a lovely dark brown paint from Behr called Expresso Bean that will be really nice on these stairs.  The next complication will be to get the paint on the stairs and not have foot and paw prints all in it.   I see some late nights in my future.  

This was not the only disaster last night/ today, oh no it wasn't, but I'll tell you about that one tomorrow.  I need to calm down a little.  :)

Monday, November 15, 2010

DIY Frenzy

If you remember, I began working on my stairs in July.  Guess what?  Still not finished, but I'm darn close now.    With December 5th coming closer and closer (I'm hosting a Ladies' Tea) the scramble to get this project finished has begun.  The risers have been painted white and they look like this now:

We've been using them like this for a while now since I've been swamped with other projects.  As I am the only one working on these and there is only one of me, obviously it's taking a while.  
Today I was sanding the stair rail.  To see a before and after, look at the two rails in this shot:


Now imagine, this house was built in 1980.  That's thirty years of oils, dirt and wax buildup on the rails.  Nasty.  It's taking a while just to sand that down.  Totally gross.  I won't be sanding down the one on the far wall in place.  It's going to have to be taken down completely and moved into the garage to begin sanding down that one.  I couldn't do this with the one that has the spindles in it though.  It's been a total pain in the neck to sand that sucker too.

I've started taping the risers and walls off and will begin staining the treads today.  I may have to be placed into a nice, soft padded room after I corral the two cats, two dogs and one four year old out of the way so that I can start.    Ack! 

So, progress has been made and is continuing as you are reading this.  Hopefully I'll have another progress report for you tomorrow.