Thursday, August 22, 2013

The veranda floor - varnishing.

Lots of dusting, wiping and vacuuming later and the veranda floors are looking and feeling smooth enough to varnish. Let's just say I'm over picking out splinters during my wake-up cuppa in bed!

The floorboards at the front door are pretty worn, as to be expected from an eighty+ year old house. Most of the holes have not been filled as most nails were deep enough and I wanted them to stay rusty brown. Some have an undesirable silvery shine to them as Mr CH couldn't punch them in any further without damaging the surrounding wood, the wood was too hard, as old hardwood does tend to harden with age.

Found an old pic, showing how ratty the floor looked near the doorway before.

Another bit of white ant damage, yet to be sealed from underneath.

We will probably paint this step "oxblood", as neither one of us wants the job of sanding the paint from every little crevice .
First coat done and dry.

Varnishing the floor is my job while Hubby is off at work. I was surprised at how much the mop caught on bits of the hardwood, thought there was going to be fluffy bits everywhere but there was only a few bits. We like how dark the floor has become, it's a change after being light grey for so long. It looks so different in colour, can't help but stare at it every time I walk in.

The very dry, worn timber at the front door soaked up lots of varnish, as expected for the first coat. Sorry not a very good pic.

Hand sanding in progress, more splinters, can't wear gloves or use a sanding block for this bit, need to feel.

This is the varnish I used and this is where I left the mop.
 I'm the queen of "turps soaking", sometimes for so long I have to throw away a brush. Anyone else? No? just me.

We are so glad took the nostalgic road and painted the ceiling green, it helps limit the glare from the white walls and windows with all the winter sunlight, should feel cool and fresh especially in summer.
 Have decided three coats of varnish will be best for this floor, lots of traffic and it is the front doorway after all, and best to do it now while the house is empty.
Just two more coats to go...
Have a wonderful weekend people. 

Monday, August 19, 2013

Reno cottage - filling the gaps in the veranda floor.

Work on the veranda floor was started a few weeks ago, then left for another job. This is our last floor and the last major job for the inside of the Reno cottage. After this the inside jobs are small, filling random holes, small tiling jobs, touching up paint marks, installing door/window catches, curtains etc. the easy stuff, well except the curtains.
We've been digging out decades of dust and dirt from between the cracks of the veranda floorboards, the dirtiest job ever. Lots of pebbles, probably from a fishtank, rusty nails, safety pins, hairclips and the grossest - a used!!cotton bud and a false fingernail. 

So after the gaps have been cleared, you can see through, which is not a good thing in winter. The front veranda floors are the same mixed hardwood as the kitchen floors which were originally open veranda hence the gaps for rain run off. So they will probably look much the same as the kitchen floors when varnished.

 At the time of floor sanding the lounge/bed 2 and also giving a quick once over sand to the dining/bed1 floor as well, we weren't thinking too much about the state of the veranda floor. If we had, we would have gap filled the grooves before sanding to save ourselves some tedium. So our extra job was to fill the gaps and wash away any excess gapfiller before it dries as it then would require too much sanding. Mr CH did the squeezing and I did the washing, working a few rows at a time. Tedious and grubby job and you probably couldn't pay someone enough to do this. We let the filler skin slightly for a few minutes to avoid it pulling out with the washing.

As the gapfiller has it's limitations depth wise, sheets of 3mm plywood are being cut and nailed in between the bearers underneath the floor. We are thinking this will act as a barrier to spack falling out in the case of wood shrinking, (hardwood moves less than softwood) and also as a bit of extra insulation underfoot. Not all the thin gaps are being filled, it is a veranda after all and will retain a bit of it's rusticity, in a nice way hopefully.

Fourteen tubes of gapfiller later, floor done and given a sand over with the orbital and fine disks and left to dry for 5 days to fully cure.
 We spent $70.20 on the gap filler. The ply, well that's still a work in progress.
 A little thing Mr CH always does, when changing tubes, rather than cut and fit a new tip each time, simply screw and reuse the old tip on the new tube. Saves time and wastage and you'll always have a few spare tube tips if you need them if one dries out on another tube.

Now just a small bit of dust to clean up.

From the windows....

To the walls... pity these little shadows couldn't help, they certainly like to be part of it all.

Looking forward to someone else cleaning this little house, I've done my fair share.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Old fashioned shed build - more framing.


Just another catch-up post about Hubby's little shed build project. The framing on the top side was completed first, fascias done, bracing straps in and already taut and doing their job. All the cyclone rods are in and the battens for the roof are on. So Mr CH turned his attention to getting the framing for the lower side done so that all the framing is completed, ticked off and ready for the next stage.

Because he is doing most of the framing on his own, his second set of hands is usually a clamp.
The stumps on this side will only have the top showing as the ground needs a bit of fill before the concrete slab is laid (eventually) with a slight slope for drainage. Which is why they look a bit rougher than the others.

Easier to cut and drill all the pieces while on the ground, before anchoring in place.

Playing Hangman?

The framing almost complete.

Now you get more of an idea on his shed design, the higher enclosed room is for his tools, clean workbenches, pool table etc. and the lower side will eventually have a slab on ground for a vehicle, machinery etc. with sanding benches along one part of the outside shed wall. Unfortunately (for him) there is no extra room for all his engineering machinery (most vintage) currently housed in the parent's sheds. Though I wouldn't be surprised, if one day the Reno cottage has it's own machinery shed, ha. Because we have a narrow block of land, the shed needs drive through access from the back entrance.
There has been one issue, we didn't expect the shed to shade most of the vege patch in the middle of winter, hence the plants are competing with weeds until the sun gets higher in the sky. This shade should be useful in summer for those plants like lettuce, that sometimes fry in a full day's sun.   

 Do you think it's big enough?
 Have a wonderful weekend.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Lemon butter and a Minecraft Birthday cake.

Our neighbour has been bringing bags of lemons and oranges over regularly which has had me adding them to almost everything. Everyone has been posting their favourite recipes, however I just ended up using this recipe below, as the lemon's were HUGE and I though it would be best to use cup/millimetre measurements rather than counting lemons.
4 eggs
3/4 cup caster sugar
125grams butter
1/2 cup lemon juice
Lemon zest if desired
Place eggs and sugar in a bowl over a saucepan of simmering water and whisk until sugar is dissolved, add butter and lemon juice and continue whisking until mixture evenly coats the back of a wooden spoon. Avoid over heating or mixture will curdle.
Pour into oven sterilized jars and seal immediately, store in the fridge for up to 2 months. This made three small-ish jars.
 The only problem with the homemade lemon butter, you tend to spread twice as much of the creamy, lemony mousse than you would the store bought stuff.

Those beautiful Iboza flowers I bragged about back a few posts ago. Well this is what the backyard bush looks like now, after a heavy downpour the brittle branches snapped under the weight of rain soaked flowers. This has happened to one branch before and after a trim it grew back fine. I should remember this (I probably won't) and tie it to the fence next year.

It's been an expensive time of the year for us with $2000+ worth of rates and water/sewerage for two properties paid. Our new mower died yesterday, just when sticky beaks are taking over the backyard. The first mower served us well for more than 16 years, the next, three years and this one just over three months! A few weeks before the last holidays Mr CH bought a new flatscreen TV to sit on top of the formerly "super ugly sideboard". We sat down and watched all eight episodes of "Hornblower" over ten nights and then the TV died, it was two weeks old! Must have been too much swashbuckling adventure for it.
 The hard drive on this computer has been playing up and needs to be packed up and sent off to Brisbane for repairs under warranty. A new phone arrived recently and worked but wouldn't connect to the Internet and had to be sent back, this coupled with computer server issues and us getting used to the buttons on a new microwave after our "spare" died and we are beginning to wonder why, don't they make 'em like they used to! It's not that we are hard on the things we buy, we don't buy a lot of "stuff" to begin with. Who wants to be bothered with taking things back for refund/replacements all of the time? Is this the sad reality of our chuck-away society?

On the plus side Mum gave me this cute though battered planter which has found a temporary home in our little hideaway spot.

Our fireside buddies. Penny dog will tolerate having the cat's tail "patting" her back for the sake of fireside warmth. Fire lighting was a blink-and-you-missed-it affair this year. Our warmest winter in twenty years. Lets hope summer is kind.


Flowers lately have been shades of red.

 I finally got my mitts on one of the new two dollars coins commemorating the 60th anniversary of the Queen's coronation, aren't they pretty with the purple centre? 2 million of them in circulation and only our second coloured coin.

Finally, my attempt at a "Minecraft Birthday Cake" for no.3 son. There was some serious procrastinating with this cake and I started the day before, cutting lots of squares, most chanced to end up roughly the same size, had no idea what I was trying to make. I had half a block of fondant left from the last Birthday cake and I was determined not to buy more as no one likes to eat it anyway, so I was a few squares short. 
Any parent of a pre-teen/tween boy might have some idea of the whole Minecraft obsession of building empires of your own design block by block, sometimes with the aid of TNT etc.mind you. Poor Steve he's not much of a looker is he? Apparently the green "Creeper" needed to be much taller and the sheep was "cool". He was very happy and I will never need to make one of these again!

He was just miffed he had to go to school on his Birthday.

Getting behind on those renovating posts, must get my butt into gear.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

$10 bought me...

 Two pretty Alfred Meakin plates for $1 each, two clear depression glass bowls ($2.50 for both), an Australian Women's Weekly biscuit book (50c), another Aladdin thermos for $1, another Pyrex pie plate for $3 (but I don't have a white one), an old steel with a burn on the handle for a $1.50, an as new flannel pillowcase for no.2 son for 20c and a pretty crocheted washcloth for 50c. $9.70 for ten things.

I find it hard to pass up the old depression glass bowls even though most people don't seem to like them. I use them in summer esp. Christmas for salads, clear glass goes with everything. I always choose the glassware with definite mould joins (if I can feel them) and imperfections such as bubbles or pour marks to make sure I'm not buying reproductions. I did start collecting the green glass about 14 years ago then stopped, but find myself drawn to the simpler clear glass these days. Something about the unloved.

I've been wanting this book for many years despite having more biscuit recipes than one family can eat. Have recently seen a "new vintage edition" on sale for $10. Think 50 cents is more like it as the original price for this book was $5.98. I was a little disappointed to find that I already had about a third of the recipes, but I'm still happy to have it in my greasy little hands. I made these passionfruit bickies recently,but piped round.

My favourite slice would have to be this one, ginger and lemon together, yum. Great for freezing for the lunchboxes, icing and all. I always freeze my slices iced.

Happy little family, I paid $1 for the middle size this time and 50cents for the large back here.

Brown pieplate in action, last nights apple pie with chopped walnuts, chopped caramel bits, almonds and demerera sugar and only a quarter was eaten, pie anyone? P.s that makes ten pyrex pieplates, but whose counting, somebody stop me!

Feels like spring!
 Hope your oppy finds have been happy and that your weekend is wonderful.
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