Friday, August 29, 2008

The House is No Longer Falling Down...

on the west side, at least. Today, a mason started the job of shoring up the exterior walls and inserting the Helifix ties to secure it.

They shored up the wall by applying pressure with 4 wide planks of wood.

Then, they drove 4x4's between these planks and posts buried in the ground across the driveway:

They carefully hammered the 4x4's down until they had moved the wall 3/4 of an inch and back in a relatively good position.

After moving the wall, the masons needed to secure it using Helifix ties:
This tie is 3/8 inch thick and 8 inches long.

First a pilot hole is driven; then, the tie is countersunk into the wall with a special driver. Here's what is visible from the outside:


A little patch of mortar and it should be hard to see where they are!

Thursday, August 28, 2008

The New Front Door- Side One

Over the last few days, I have taken this door from this:


to THIS:


Any guesses on wood type? I was assuming pine when I bought it; that doesn't look like pine to me, though.

Still have to remove the paint from here (around each inset panel)...


and here (around each of six windows)...


We are debating painting or staining. This is the interior side of the door; the rest of our doors will all be natural wood. We would love to keep this door natural on the inside, too... but there are a few imperfections. Here is the largest gauge:


It is about 1/4 inch deep, and about 2 inches wide and 4 inches tall. The rest are mostly holes, or small scratches. Thoughts on my ability to hide or patch imperfections like this?

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Environmentally Safe Draino

Our bathroom sink clogged again. Instead of using Draino, a very caustic chemical, I used an all natural method of clearing the drain.

Baking Soda

First, pour a little baking soda into the sink around the drain:


Then, pour a little vinegar into the sink:


Pour it quickly, so that the force of the pouring carries the baking soda down into the drain.

Repeat 4 or 5 times, or until vinegar immediately runs down the drain.

This works great as a clog preventer, too (if you remember).

Monday, August 25, 2008

Bought a Heat Gun...

did try to buy used, but every shop had the same answer:

"Heat Gun? We get those all the time. Don't have any right now, but check back!"

That didn't help my impulsive nature; I wanted one NOW. Plus, I've never used one, and wasn't sure that it would be suitable for my needs.

Enter the $20 Milwaukee Heat Gun:

Using the heat gun and the special triangular scraper, I was able to strip the latex paint from about half of this door. It works quite well, and was much easier than the orange chemical stripper I used on the other side.


Puzzling me, of course, is the paint UNDER the latex:

It is white and chalky, and thick. Is it paint? Could it be a primer? Milk paint? Pure lead?

The biggest question, of course, is whether we need to take it off to repaint or whether we can simply sand it smooth. It seems to be VERY intact, and very bonded to the door.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

The Puppy is Just Fine

Got the call back from the vet... the lump turned out to be a MASSIVE inflammation of the cuticle that manifested itself in a VERY odd way! YEAH! He probably stepped on one of the wasps that keep trying to make nests in our yard (on the ground) or stepped on a stick.

I never thought I would celebrate a massive inflamation. Guess there's a time for everything. And, at least it's gone? Though, surgical removal does seem a little bit overkill...

Thank you all SO much for all your kind words and thoughts as we worried about this this week!

Here's a quick picture of the puppy, with his anti-chewing sock:


Five more days of light walks until we can remove the bandage for good and let the pup run!

Friday, August 22, 2008

A (mostly) Finished Windowsill

After two more Bondo applications, and a thorough sanding, we have a presentable window sill:


For those of you who don't remember, here's the "before":


It needs primed and painted now; this will wait until we decide what color/brand to use on the rest of the house. I'm not convinced that the original color (the dark brown on the window) is what I want... I'd prefer something with a little more "color".

Finally a project COMPLETED! (First one for this blog?) Off to work on the front door today, which had been neglected in the last few months. It's slow going... not a lot to show for my work!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Bondo... Part 2

An update on the window sill that I was fixing with Bondo....


I sanded the excess Bondo down with 60 grit sand paper on a random orbit sander. Here's how it looked after I was done:

A few spots left to fill, but overall a pretty good first try! A stiff bristle paint brush is excellent for removing all dust and dirt from the crevices of a repair such as this; important because Bondo needs a clean, dust free surface to adhere to.

This time, I had learned a few things about Bondo. I used an (old) spoon to mix and apply it instead of a putty knife, which allowed greater control. I mixed smaller batches of Bondo, and waited for them to hit "prime" spreading time... about 1 minute in. This is the result:


A little more sanding, and I think we will have it!

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Water Pouring Out Of A Sink Cabinet Can't Be Good

At least, that's what we at Tiny Old House think. We would prefer to keep our draining water INSIDE our pipes. The water draining from our washing machine had other plans this morning, and plotted an escape route into the kitchen. (Good thing we have a water efficient front loader!)

Upon inspection, we noticed that the sink drain was about 1/2 inch away from the actual drain pipe. We don't believe this was the case 2 months ago when we reinstalled the sink for the 4th time into the new granite countertop, but we also don't believe the sink magically decided to move 1/2 inch inside a solid granite countertop...


We've obviously been living on borrowed time for a kitchen flood!

We weighed our options. We could do a temporary band-aid fix, or re-plumb the entire sink. We opted for the band-aid this time, with the knowledge that some time in the next few months we will re-do all of the plumbing down there.

Here's our band-aid:
It's a new FLEXIBLE sink drain.

We affixed this new sink drain to the sink and to the drain apparatus, using teflon tape to secure and seal all of the new joints.

The finished product:
A sink that drains AND doesn't leak!

I'll keep you updated on how long this actually lasts... we were warned by the floor person at the hardware store that these clog up with food in about 2 months. Hopefully we will find time before then to do the full replacement.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Just a Picture of the Poor Sweet Puppy...

...who had a growth removed from his pinky toe today. Thanks for all of your thoughts.


He sure doesn't LOOK like a dog who just got out of surgery! What a happy dog. He's zonked on the floor now; he can't have his normal miles of walking for two weeks OR go outside to run and play, so here's hoping we can keep him happy and mentally entertained in our tiny house!

We will have the biopsy report next week; hopefully there is either no cancer or it was very localized and is now gone (due to the removal of the growth)!

Red Brick Victorian Houses in Denver

While I was away, I found myself in a fabulous Denver neighborhood full of brick Victorian houses. Most are much grander than ours, but they gave us some great ideas for paint colors to match our red brick cottage.

Here are a few of our favorites:






I really like the first one and the fourth one the best. Here's the house mocked up:


We're still playing with paint ideas; here's one more:

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

We're Back!

Did you forget about me? Well don't worry... we are back in the Tiny Old House, after a conference, a piano training, and a couple summer camps. Oh, and a little recovery time from all of that!


• The house hasn't fallen down yet. We are still waiting on the second bid; we should have it in the next day or two. We'll likely hire out the stable-izing.

• Our puppy has a growth on his front pinky toe; it's being removed tomorrow, and has a fairly high possibility of being cancerous. A week for the biopsy results, and we'll know what we are dealing with. He's only two; he has a lot of life left, so here's hoping it's benign.

• Our apple trees are full of nice large apples, due to the watering we did all summer. Now, if the squirrels would just stop picking them, taking a bite, and throwing them down, we might have apple pies this year! They are starting to turn red... we'll know in a month or so.

• I have new eyeglasses. Two pairs, because two was cheaper than one. And, I finally figured out why glasses always look huge on my face... I've been shopping in the wrong section! Once a salesperson steered me over to Children's, I quickly found 4 pairs that looked great. Plus, children's glasses come with a free upgrade to unbreakable lenses. Here's to seeing!

More coming!