Saturday, May 18, 2013

Lying down on the job and feeling chilly.

Wow, it's finally beginning to feel a bit like Winter. After parading around in Summer clothes i.e. shorts and t-shirts and no jumpers, Thursday was a shock to the system, 15 degrees all day, brrrr. (you Southern girls don't laugh)  Reminds me of our time in Toowoomba when it snowed on the outskirts of town, 15 degrees was a warm day, then we did three years in an inland country town, where 15 degrees felt warm and it was normal for dog bowls to freeze solid and to walk on crunchy iced grass every morning, no thanks. 
The oppy's have plenty of Winter stock in now and I managed to find an chequered Invicta blanket and a pretty double flannel sheet both in purple. I don't use much purple, so it was funny to find two in one go.

This is what we are having for tea tonight, pumpkin and bacon soup. It's my favourite go-to soup during the colder months. It's number four soup so far this Autumn. I like to fiddle around a bit with this one, cooking ingredients separately and adding them together to simmer for a while. The sweetness of the pumpkin offsets the saltiness of the bacon hock. I usually make enough for two nights, with a night off in between, don't want a family revolt serving soup two nights in a row, do I?
 I take a largish bacon hock and cook it in the electric pressure cooker with a few cups of water until the meat falls off the bone. I stick this liquid in the freezer for a while so that I can skim the fat from the surface after it cools. I boil my pumpkin until soft and then, using a stick blender, puree the pumpkin and it's cooking water. I fry some leeks/ onions/ celery or whatever I want to use up and add to the pumpkin. The meat from the bacon hock is shredded and added to the pumpkin with the bacon water, a good handful of rice vermicelli  and 2/3 cup of pre-soaked pearl barley, some cracked pepper and chives. Simmer until it's all soft and smells yum.

 I thinned it down a bit with some water after I took this pic. Thin enough to dunk a bit of bread or homemade garlic twist.

 Mr CH has been busy installing skirting and trims over at the Reno cottage. Ran out of trims, last bit, a join above the front door of all places.

 Cover strips for the new lounge wall can finally be cut to size and nailed in place.

There's always one big nail that was missed first time around.

Our unorthodox method of trying to make new skirting boards sit well on old warped floors.
I get to do the nail gunning as Mr CH is heavier. Mixed success.

The homemade routed cover strip for the wiring in the dining room, needs a paint touch-up after a run in with the nail gun. 

 You know you're getting weary of all the reno jobs when, amusement involves lying on the cold floor, feet tickling and conversations about nose hair.

We been enjoying watching the new veges growing well, after adding a raised bed to avoid another wash away like earlier in the year. I've been adding lots of sand and compost to lighten up the soil, seems to be working. Lots of self-seeded tomatoes are popping up everywhere and the bok choy have gone crazy.

                 Marigolds                                   azalea                                     Justicia carnea   
 Also enjoying a surge in garden colour after weeks of nothing.

What doesn't get munched by these fellows anyway.
Hope you're having a great weekend.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Just about a window...

Or should the title be "how many irrelevant photos can I fit in one post about nothing". A singular mood, trying to get out of jobs, can you tell. Sat in bed this morning taking "shadow shots", some pics of the back of the cat's head because she wouldn't oblige and admiring finally finished and installed windows as the sun rose and flooded the room with light. I had to move the bed so we could access the windows easily and we've never looked from this position. Change of view is nice, but looking forward to moving back under the window.

The before was pretty disgusting, I hadn't cleaned much as the paint just pulled off as well, luckily hidden behind the fly screen and curtains.

Mr CH didn't need an excuse to buy himself a new toy - an impact driver ($99 Ryobi without the battery and charger) to remove the flat head nails that had been painted in place. I spent a few hours with a chisel and turps dipped rag, scrubbing someone else's glass painting efforts off. Last resort fine steel wool.
 History of colour
As you can guess, these windows weren't original to the house. Pretty casement windows such as these were made in the 1930's-60's. These windows replaced the probably weather damaged sash windows on our north side, decades ago. More old-time recycling.
There was a bit of gluing, clamping and bogging in a attempt to save a very old window sill.

I decided from the start that I was going to re-use the hinges, stays and catch as there was nothing wrong with them and that was $60-$70+ I would rather spend on something else. No one sees this hardware except me, opening and shutting the window, and this doesn't bother me.  They were given a scrub with fine steel wool. I broke the lock, so a dig in the goody-box found another brass one (removed from something else around here) a bit shiny but does the job.

There is nothing like pulling windows out in the second month of Autumn as motivation to finish the job. Two weeks out for the re-putty to "skin", the night were getting a bit chilly and the cat was trying to crawl under the covers.
Now I'll happily clean those windows.

So while I'm not joining in with Kylie and Donna's Retro and Vintage Home Styling linky party (too chicken), I think fresh flowers (swiped from Mum) do make a room a little more loved.
Happy anniversary Mr CH, I think this is the first time we've ever remember before the day.

Finished floors and skirting boards.

Green room-bed1

Now with the floors finally finished, the new skirting boards I've painted, are being installed by Mr CH piece by piece. Economy (and common sense) has the longest wall pieces cut first, using shorts for in between the studs.
Blue room-bed2


Lounge to dining

We are a little disappointed we didn't get this stain out because it's at the front door. Once there is furniture in the room it may not be too noticeable.

We have used higher skirting (145mm approx) for the main rooms (to hide the white ant damage/shower rot) and lower (97mm approx) for the bedrooms. Plus we love high skirting boards, not cheap though at around $9.60 /metre, pre-primed.

The long awaited trims are being installed around the doorways and the opening between the lounge and dining. This has been an important milestone for us, finally the crappy, dirty jobs you think will never end have been done and it's time to add some details.

The first part of the new opening between the lounge and dining rooms. Working out what trim goes where, with slightly crooked walls to deal with. We are going to add a bit of simple homemade fretwork etc. as, apart from the front windows, there are no fancy bits in the whole cottage, being a Worker's Cottage at that. To offset or not to offset, that is the question?

Offset won.
The colonial trims are set back 5mm to give added dimension. 

Now guess who's job it is to fill those nail holes?
 Was going to show a bit more, too tired, next time.
 Have a lovely weekend and Mother's Day.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Another post about floors.

Days have been spent on hands and knees sanding with squares of fine (320 grit (didn't check) sandpaper, removing the rough, hairy bits that come after the first coat of varnish dries. The vacuuming and wiping have been done meticulously. Mr CH has applied an "after hours" coat of varnish and apart from the ugly water stains, the floor is coming up well.


 I'm so glad we use the low sheen satin estapol, nice as they look, shinny floors probably would look too posh in this humble cottage.

Dry 2nd coat

Still a slight raise in the floor (where we moved the wall) if you know what you're looking for.

We He did a whoopsy and missed it on the final sand over. A wobble with the sander and what we call a "divot". This is what you pay the professionals to avoid, as, even when you think the floor is perfectly sanded everywhere. You don't always see a "divot" until the first coat of varnish dries, and then it's too late. The doorways are the trickiest and why, when we sand, we never start in the middle of the floor or in a spot where the light falls.

One more coat to go, which has already been done. Just me a rather slack blogger. I've been painting those bedroom windows that I mentioned two years ago, eeek!

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