Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Fantasy Weekend at the Sterling Renaissance Festival

Chris and I try to make it out to the Sterling Renaissance Festival each summer. It's a fun way to spend a day, and even more fun when we get talk some unsuspecting friends into going with us. This year's victims were Jim and Rhonda.

We went during fantasy weekend, so a lot of people were dressed up in crazy costumes. You can see some of those folks in the pictures near the end of this post.

As always, the performers were great and very entertaining, the food was delicious and bad for you, and the weather was actually quite nice. So I'd call this another successful visit to a long passed but not forgotten age.

So here's a little tour of our day in photos:
"Uncle Danny" performing some crazy stunts.
The Fortune Tellers hideout.
Mile-high tiramisu cake.
Watching the jousting tournament.
Enjoying our day outdoors.
Hanging out with our lovely friends Jim & Rhonda
The epic costume contest. Pretty amazing.
This guy won. Are you surprised? Check out the contacts!
There you have it. Renaissance fun with a fantasy twist.
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Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Three Little Numbers

Yesterday evening, I went outside to take an updated picture of the Capers. But what's that on the door?

Let's take a closer look, shall we?

Our front door has a pretty new accessory: house numbers! I still need to take down the tiny black numbers on the house. Probably don't need them in three places, huh?

Anyway, here's out they came to be:

1. First, I found a font that I liked. I believe it's American Extra Bold. I printed the numbers out on regular old printer paper. I used InDesign's ruler to make sure the numbers were just over 4 inches tall, which I had determined would fit nicely in the 6 inch panel on the door.

2. Next I cut the numbers out, but I left them connected at the bottom so I could maintain the spacing and keep them all level.

3. I used scotch tape to stick them to the door, centering the "1" in the middle.

4. I used a pencil to trace around the numbers, then took my paper numbers down.

5. I used a small paint brush to fill in the numbers with white paint. This step took three coats and a very steady hand. I actually have a bit of experience wielding a paintbrush, so it was pretty easy for me to do it this way. But if you haven't done much detailed painting (walls don't count) I probably wouldn't recommend this method. You might be better off cutting the numbers out in reverse so you could leave the template stuck to the door and paint in the openings to get nice straight lines.

Once I got my paper numbers up, I actually debated painting the numbers black because it looked so nice with the black door knob and black door knocker.

But I knew white would show up better, and it would also tie in nicely with the white trim. Chris agreed, so I went with white. And I'm glad I did. Love it! I think black would look great on most houses, but white felt more Cape Cod to me. Not sure if that makes sense or has any logic, but there ya go.

Man I need to get those steps fixed up. So sad.

Oh, and I also had a little visitor while I was out painting the numbers. He came right over to say hello.

Lucky for Mr. Bunny that this sinister creature was securely locked up inside the house, where he couldn't get his attack on.

In fact, I've caught Shadow leering at the bunny on many occasions. Can you see the bunny out the window in the picture below? I love Shadow's ears in this picture. It's like he's trying to keep them level with the window sill so the bunny won't spot them.

So now that's two projects complete from my end of summer task list.

Other Outside Projects

  • Paint the eaves around the garage
  • Finish up the back porch trim
  • Add house numbers to the front door

Still got a bunch more tasks in the other categories, but this one is looking good. haha (See the complete task list here.)
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Monday, August 12, 2013

Back Porch Fix-up Complete ... Almost

When we last saw the hero of this story, Mr. Back Porch, he looked like this:

While he had a pretty new paint job and his trusty sidekick, 'Lil Light Fixture, he was still missing his one true love: Miss Trim. Without her, he seemed a little incomplete and lonely.

Well, I was only able to give him half of his lady love, since there wasn't enough space around the top to add trim. Ok ... this story is failing. Anyway, you can see that I was able to at least fill the gaps around the ceiling if you scroll from the picture above to the one below. So that was an improvement.

And then I was able to successfully add baseboards to the bottom, which looks way better. It's a lot more polished looking now.

Step One
The difficult part about adding trim to this little mini-room is that the corner trim is kind of out of control out there. In the picture below, you can see the issue in the corners.

Here's a close up of the mess. I started out by just cutting the trim pieces to fit the odd spots as best I could, then smoothing caulk over the gaps as best I could.

It wasn't as bad on the other side, near the door, but still not great.

Step Two
I painted over the trim with white, going past the trim line. I let that dry and then put painter's tape in a straight(ish) line, leaving the excess white paint above the trim exposed.

Step Three
I touched up the grey paint and then immediately removed the painter's tape. It was definitely better. Not perfect, but when you're just walking through this room to get into the house, you don't notice.

I've come to learn that in a crazy old house like the Capers, it's not really worth the trouble to go for perfection. Good enough really is good enough. And it's still way better than it was.

Ceiling Issues
I had originally planned to add a flat trim directly to the ceiling, so it would just cover the weird gaps and still fit in that tiny space between the window and the ceiling.

But since the ceiling drywall doesn't have wood behind it in all the spots, I knew I couldn't nail the flat trim in place. So I attempted something I figured probably wouldn't go well: glue. And as expected, failure. The metal lip around the ceiling made it impossible for the trim to lay flat against the ceiling.

At this point, Oreo came out to help me solve the dilemma.

But he ran out of suggestions quickly and had to go take a nap.

So once again, I fell back on the idea that this house doesn't need perfection, just improvement. So I caulked the gaps and let everything dry. Once it was dry, I had to touch up the grey wall paint first.

But then I had an accident ...

That's right. I spilled a gallon of paint on the wood floor. Sigh ...

So even though I was able to touch up the paint around the top, and the gaps were all filled and Sir Back Porch now had his fair maiden Lady Trim, the back porch fix-up is not complete. Now I have to figure out what to do about the wood floor ...

But at least the rest of the porch looks pretty.
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Sunday, August 11, 2013

End of Summer Task List

Work has been a little slow lately, and I was beginning to get antsy with all the extra days off I've been having. But then, once I dug into finishing the trim on the back porch (going to post about that soon), I was hit with a little house inspiration.

Suddenly I've got this huge list of things I want to do around the house and yard before the weather turns too cold, so I thought I would keep track of everything here. I'm hoping to do all/most of these projects before October, when Chris and I spend all of our free time doing fun fall activities and Halloween events.

So here's what I'd like to tackle:

  • Weed and add plants to the front yard garden
  • Weed and divide irises in the side yard gardens
  • Add grass seed to bare spots in the back yard
  • Transplant ferns near the shed
  • Transplant plants that did poorly this year to new locations
  • Do something with that compost bin (never got around to making a veggie garden)

Other Outside Projects
  • Paint the eaves around the garage
  • Finish up the back porch trim
  • Add house numbers to the front door

Furniture I'm Going to Paint/Makeover
  • Black china cabinet with mirrors (remove doors, add shelf paper, drawers?, paint)
  • Pink desk (paint white with gold dip look)
  • Old white chair (reupholster and paint to go with the pink desk's new look)
  • Small bookshelf (paint, maybe shelf paper)
  • Apothecary unit (going to look for new hardware, maybe sand and stain a darker tone)

Other Inside Projects
  • Stuff pillows and hem the sides (mom made two pillow covers from leftover materials)
  • Totally empty the kitchen, clean, and reorganize
  • Finish up the new terrariums
  • Caulk the gaps around the living room's ceiling trim

So that's what I'm thinking about. Looking at it now, it sort of seems like a lot to do in the next month and a half, but who knows? Maybe having this list and knowing exactly how much I want to get done will help me stay motivated. Also boredom and too many days off can be a huge motivating factor.

I'll post my projects as I go and try to repost this list with updates a few times as well. Wish me luck!