The Cherry On Top

The sheer curtains I hung in the windows when I moved in were always meant to be temporary. I had no idea they’d hang for two years, but with the house painted, landscape in, it was time for to address the window coverings. I turned to Google and played around on several sites, leaving contact me info. The only one to reach back to me was Budget Blinds; Missy Weinheimer. She was super responsive even after months went by after our initial contact. I grew up in a house with mini Levelor blinds at the windows and vertical blinds at the patio door. Because of that I was fixated on doing something different in my first house; specifically I was leaning towards Roman blinds.

20201028_110108The inspiration for my house interior design was the 2017 HGTV Urban Oasis giveaway house.  I was pulling pics to prepare for my final post on that house when I noticed that the kitchen had blue gingham roman blinds at the windows.  I had used blue gingham contact paper to line the shelves of my built-in, so I definitely wanted those for my windows.  I emailed Missy the picture and she got back to me in less than 48-hours with a very expensive option.  Of all her vendors only one carried that fabric and it was a vendor she called the Lexus of roman blind manufacturers.  I was looking at $1200 for just those two windows, so that idea went bye, bye.  I scheduled an appointment with Missy to come out on September 11 to show me other options.

Missy spent over two hours with me.  Prior to arriving she had spent time on my blog.  She had a great feel for my house before walking through the door, but she remembered our initial conversation 20200911_155041and my desire to do something different than blinds.  Missy made five trips out to her van bringing in fabric books, different shade samples.   At my request she held samples in my window so I could go outside to see what would great people. I wasn’t feeling any of it.  I guess I really didn’t know what a roman shade was or how it operated.  In the price range of my budget the backs of them look terrible in the window as you see all the mechanisms that make them function.

Missy never grew impatient with my lack of decisiveness. She even pushed back her next appointment.  On her last trip to her van she came back with a sample of faux wood blinds with tapes.  That was it!  I didn’t understand what a tape was until she showed it to me, but the width of the slats, the valance on top, and the tapes combined was exactly what my house and windows needed to stay true to my restoration journey.  The variety of colors was awesome.  I was able to match the blinds and tapes to the wood tones of my existing moulding.  I was able to select two different shades of white to match the two different whites I used upstairs and down.  Most importantly she assured me she could mount the blinds inside the moulding.  After months of restoring that wood I was not anxious to see screw holes go back in them.

Installation was scheduled for October 14, but FedEx shipping delays due to the California fires pushed it back another week to October 21. Missy’s son Alex is her installer and typically she lets him work on his own, but she fell in love with my house and wanted to be on hand and help with the install. They worked well together. She placed each blind and its related hardware at each window and Alex handled the mounting. He had to trim each valance as Missy intentionally gave some extra margin. Better too long than too short. They arrived at 10a and had all 21 windows done by 1:30p.

I didn’t think the blinds would have the impact that they did once I saw them installed. My house truly looks complete; they are the cherry on top of what has been a miraculous journey to restore my 1924 Cape Cod styled home. My restoration work is finished. It is home maintenance from this point forward. I held another Open House on October 24. Despite the alarming news coverage of the growing spread of Covid-19 about 30 friends, colleagues, clients, and family came through. No pics, but I’ll have a final post on this journey out shortly.

She’s 100% Complete and Beautiful

DIY Nightstands

20200613_152621With the plan to ditch the top and side shelves in my original headboard design, I needed to come up with something to get rid of the TV tray I had been using as a nightstand. My first thought was to buy something, so I started surfing various online retailers. Nothing I came across would compliment my headboard. I decided to check out Etsy, which is full of unique products made by independentEtsy Nightstand sellers.  After just a few clicks I came across several sellers making floating nightstands, which instead of purchasing I decided to make.  Doing so would allow me to use material that would match the headboard.

I still had some bead board, but not enough for an entire nightstand, let alone two.  I could have used the oak boards I had, but everything in the master is pine.  I didn’t want to mix wood.  I could have 20201026_000646purchased more reclaimed wood from Building Value, but then I’d need to join several pieces together for depth.  Then I remembered I still had the original shelves from the 1st floor bathroom linen closet.  They are 12″ x 24″, covered in paint and contact paper.  I bet myself that underneath was a solid piece of old pine and I was right.

I took the four flattest boards to the Manufactory and ran them through their planer. I really need to invest in one as I spent more time driving to and from their facility than I did working on the four boards. I took the clean boards home, measured the space, and decided I would make 18″x11″x6″ nightstands. First step was ripping all the boards down to 11″ depth. Second step was ripping down to 18″ length and adding the miter angle. I cut the miter on one side of all boards, set my table saw to 18″. Unfortunately I didn’t place the first board correctly and cut the angle in the wrong direction. I was able to make the right cut, but now they are only 17.5″ wide. With the tops and bottoms cut I focused on the bead board. I glued four boards together and once dried ripped off the tongue and groove to reach 11″. I then used the same miter cut process I did for the top and bottom to create the four 6″ tall sides. I applied natural Danish oil to the outside of the of the bead board, painted the inside Indigo Batik, and applied dark walnut Danish oil to both sides of the pine.

The only piece left to address was the back. I have so much plywood that I decided to use 1/2″ plywood for the back. I painted the inside Indigo Batik, but applied the dark walnut Danish Oil to the back. Keep in mind I have no plans to follow, but my instincts told me to create a channel for the back panel to rest in. I had no room for error since I only had the four shelves for the top and bottom. I decided to make a prototype out of scrap plywood. I used my router to create the channel. My instinct was right. The prototype was very sound. The top and bottom of the back locked in place and I cut the width perfectly so there was no gaps on the sides.

Now it was just a matter of replicating the process on the actual wood. I ran the tops and bottoms through the router table, cut the backs to the appropriate sizes, and then prepared for the glue up. I remembered to use the “sizing” process I learned from the Woodworkers Guild of America YouTube video. The process went remarkably well. I used my pin nailer to help hold the pieces together until the glue dried. The next day I applied three coats of polyacrylic to the tops, since I know I’ll be setting glasses, mugs, or bottles on top and may not always have something underneath to protect the wood from stains.

The final step was attaching them to the wall and for that I used hanging cleats I ordered from Amazon. I had to trim a bit off due to my early miscut. Due to the width of the headboard I was not able to hit two studs, so I went to Northside Hardware and purchased six drywall anchors rated to hold 40lbs each. I love independent hardware stores as I was able to buy only the anchors (I was able to use the screws that came with the cleat) and the exact number I needed vs. a full pack. I decided to put three plus the stud screw for each nightstand.

With that a picture on Etsy turned into actual nightstands and the completion of a custom bedroom furniture set. Goodbye TV tray.

I’ve decided I’m going to make more of these stands out of all that oak wood I have. They were asking $150 on up for those on Etsy, so Sista Girl w/ Skills my have a shop on Etsy real soon!

DIY Headboard

I started working on my headboard in July 2019 (see From Toilet Surround to Headboard post). At the end of that post I wrote “So what to do.  Use the oak I purchased or create a fully salvaged headboard and use the pine.  You’ll have to keep checking my blog to see how this project is going to end.  Anyone want to lay bets?” The winner was pine. Not the floor joist I referenced, but reclaimed barn lumber I purchased Building Value. All the weeks and hours I spent building the top shelve out of oak and side shelves out aspen were scrapped.

First step was going back to the Jen Woodhouse plan I purchased for her Evelyn King Headboard. I had cut off 10″ of the back for the top shelf. My first step was reattaching it. The only blessing in my stupid decision to cut it off was that it led to my not following her plan precisely from the beginning. If I had I would have had a 100% glued up headboard that would NOT have fit up the stairs leading to my master suite. The seam is noticeable, but by turning that end towards the bottom the seam is hidden by the mattress. After that I went back to her plans and added the other section of plywood it called for minus a couple of inches as I had made the bead board panel longer than her plans. I plugged the pocket holes and then decided to paint the back side the same blue, Indigo Batik, as the bedroom walls. I still had the sample quart, so no need to spend more money on paint.

Since I had gone back to the plans, I also decided to build the side and foot rails. I had plenty of bead board (it was going to be used for my beverage station project) to work with, but I also had two unique pieces that I thought would make great side rails. I had the sidelights from the original front door. After removing the remaining glass the outer frame was perfect. They were longer and slightly wider than what the plans called for, but a couple of passes on a table saw and chop on a miter saw made them the right size. They were covered in paint and peeling veneer. I knew this could be cleaned up with a couple of passes through the Manufactory planer. I used my heat gun to remove the remaining paint from the decorative edge. I only needed three pieces of bead board per panel to fill the opening. I wanted more definition between the sides and the bead board, which I had treated with natural Danish Oil. I used dark walnut Danish Oil on the frame.

The next step was preparing the side pieces. The plan called for 2x4s, but I didn’t want to use new wood for it. I didn’t want to rip down the floor joist given two me (I want to make a farm table with them), so I went to Building Value and purchased several pieces of reclaimed 2×6 pine beams. They were still filled with nails, so they only cost $1/foot. Once I had removed all the nails I ran them through the planer and joiner to create smooth surfaces. I could have left the rough saw marks, but that seemed too rustic for my bedroom. I was going for rustic chic given all the old repurposed wood I was using. I made all the cuts per the plan. I applied dark walnut Danish Oil to them. Once dried I attached the short legs to the side light panels and plugged the pocket holes. I decided to paint the insides blue just to clean them up.

With the side rails complete I turned my focus on the foot rail. The plan called for just one 2×4 on the top with the design boards underneath, but I made another slight alteration by putting what was basically a 2×2 at the top and bottom with the design in the middle. I was trying to replicate the side rail look. The plans also had the design boards running horizontal (same as the side rails), but I decided to run the chevron to match the headboard. I wasn’t concerned with precise cuts for the sides and bottom as my plan was to run the board through my table saw to trim the bottom and miter saw to trim the sides. I painted the back to cover the plywood board in the same fashion as the headboard.

With all the pieces complete it was time to move the pieces upstairs. The connecting of the headboard sides and top will need to take place in my bedroom and I’d need help carrying it upstairs, so I took the side and foot rails up and put them together with bed frame rails. I wish I had gone back to Jen Woodhouse’s website with the bed plan as she recommended a specific style rail. I purchased Surface Mounted Keyhole Bed Rail Brackets from Rockler. Rockler had the style she recommended also, but the one I selected allowed you to enter a screw for security, ensuring they would never come apart. I’m not sure why I was concerned about that. I was excited to get the headboard up, so I reached out to my cousin Zachary (young muscle) for help getting it upstairs.

I picked him up after his work shift. We carried it up the basement stairs, out the back door, around the house, through the front door, and then up the stairs to the master. It took us hours to get the side rails attached. Poor Zach had worked all day and then I held him hostage another 5 hours. I was so engrossed in attaching the sides, trying to get the mitered corners right that I didn’t take any pics, but finally we got it erected and leaning against the wall. Attaching the side rails to the headboard I thought would be the easy part since I had successfully attached the bed rail brackets to the foot and side rails. NOT! The rails I bought didn’t work the way the rails she recommended based on the headboard design. I finally gave up and took Zach home. I slept on the floor that night.

Clarity always comes in the morning and I had a plan devised. I needed to add pieces of wood to the bottom of the headboard to create a flush surface to mount the bracket. Fortunately I had plenty of scrap pieces to work with. Once I got those pieces glued and screwed in place I was ready to try attaching the rails again. I didn’t have the extra pair of hands, Zachary, anymore so I used my 4′ ladder and clamps to hold the headboard upright. I discovered I had actually installed the brackets on the bottom backwards. With all four pieces attached I then went back to the plans and attached the support pieces that would hold the box spring slats. I won’t need them, but I did want to put the support pieces in place for any future owner of the bedframe. Despite the splice at the bottom I think it turned out beautiful; not bad for an advanced DIYer. It’s sturdy and well built. My hopes would be that the headboard always remain in this space if I should depart this life while still living in the house. With the headboard complete I was back to the issue of what to do for a nightstand. Thanks to Etsy that problem was solved. Read how in my next post.

Peel A-Way Clean-up to Prepare for Oil Finish

After getting all the crown moulding on the front cleared of paint and ready for Joe and crew, I finally turned my focus on the porch ceiling bead board. Thanks to working on other projects for Mike Tanner, Joe is very familiar with painting my type of columns, so it is very important for me to get this project done before he starts working on the front of the house. His plan is to paint fully the Stock Street side, followed by my neighbor’s side. These areas call for his tallest ladders and will be the most difficult to paint. If I’m finished with my project he’ll paint the front next, saving the rear for last.

I had received the sample pints from Alan Bensen, National Account Sales Manager Dumond Chemicals, Inc., but I started with what I had left from the crown moulding. Alan sent me an email with reminder tips from our phone call. Somehow I forgot reminder one and paid the price for it.

  1. Apply Peel Away 1 like you are icing a birthday cake, and you like icing! 😊  
  2. Don’t let it sit too long or else it may dry out (24 hours max).  It may even work overnight (apply at 5-6pm at night), remove before noon the next day….it’s trial and error.
  3. When removing, use water, nylon scrub brush, and/or scotch- bright pad to remove. Don’t be afraid to use the garden hose!  Water and elbow grease working together does the trick.

When this product dries out on your surface it does not scrub off. I had to use my pressure washer and unfortunately in spots I furred up the soft pine boards. On the phone he had told me, based on the pictures I sent that the product wouldn’t need to sit for more than a couple of hours. It was drying so fast that for the third section I only let it sit for an hour. Applying it liberally is truly the key. The paint that was in the groves, especially around the edges was my primary concern. The re-treatment with the Peel A-Way did nothing around the edges; about 60% came out of the grooves thanks to the 20200813_081636pressure washer. The very thing I was trying to avoid, using my heat gun with a metal pick, is exactly what I ended up doing. The white along the edges I think was caulk and not paint because it was really gummy once hit with the heat gun. I burned the wood in some places. That didn’t concern me much as once I discovered I had furred up the wood in some areas I knew I’d need to sand the surface. The burns weren’t deep, so most would go away with the sanding.  I started with 80 grit, followed by 120.  I may go a step further before applying the oil.

I did the ceiling in three sections over the course of two days. My arms were so tired, as all the work was above my head with extended arms. I still love Peel A-Way and would highly recommend it, but given how much manual removal I ended up doing I could have eliminated the need to use the pressure washer and sanding if I had just started with my heat gun and pick.

Ceiling Before Peel A-Way

Amazing what the right product and elbow grease can accomplish. After doing some Internet searching I have decided to use Penofin Ultra Premium Red Label Pentrating Oil. I’ll let the Peel A-Way neutralizing agent set for a day before starting the Penofin prep processes. If all goes well I should be finished with my outdoor projects by the end of the weekend.

The Big Chop

Well there’s no undoing today, I did it. I’ve removed all my permed hair. How do I feel? Liberated, nervous, happy, sad; I’m a mixed bag of emotions. But what’s new. The night before I decided to mold my hair one last time and it wasn’t happening. The new growth was too thick for the permed hair to lay flat. This confirmed that it was time to let it go. There was also no point in continuing to waste good hair care products on hair I didn’t want. I went into the shop with my bangs combed out for the last time. With my perms my beautician, Dorthea Jones, always cut my hair after the wash, set, and dry. Today she cut it first. Dorthea has a texturizer in her hair and she asked if I wanted that. I said no, I’m committing to one year of no chemicals, not even dye as I’m looking forward to turning gray.

After washing and conditioning it Dorthea applied Dudley Curl Gel and styling foam. I asked if I should sit under the drawer and she said no, let it dry natural. In less than two hours I was out the door to share with Cincinnati the new me. My first stop was to my friend Carolyn Wallace who lives just around the corner from the shop. The curl gel constantly ran down my face and back of neck. I must have gone through 3 paper towels sopping up the run off. I’m glad Dorthea didn’t push me to buy it. It felt sticky, so I’ll look forward to trying Pattern Beauty’s equivalent products.

I decided to mark this milestone occasion with a professional head shot, including professionally applied make up. Crystal Grace, owner of Grit and Grace, referred me to a young make up artist Keliyah Blackmon. My request was to look natural and hide the dark circles. Given her subject matter, she did a good job. Clearly I look better with make up, but I just can’t stand the feel of it on my face. If I could find a brand that would allow me to get close to this look with three or fewer products and it didn’t easily wipe off I’d buy it. Between the gel running and the heat outside I felt like a was melting.

From her shop I stopped at my aunt’s to share the new me with her and my cousin before heading to Perfect Exposure Photography Studio. I met the owner, Pete Coleman, when he became a member of the Cincinnati CVB. He did my cousin Alex’s senior photos. I truly feel like I am the most un-photogenic person in the world. My last head shot was in 2005 as required by the Cincinnati CVB. I went to Dorthea early in morning before work, she did my make up, and I went straight to the photographer. It was my first professional picture since my senior high school picture. I liked it so much I actually had prints made and gave it out as Christmas gifts that year. I ordered two 8x10s of Pete’s photo and will give one to my father. The other I will display at my house, covering over the two previous.

Seeing these three images next to each other blows my mind. Time truly stands for no one. Thanks to all the work on my house, I’m about 20 lbs lighter today than I was in 2005 and it really shows in my face. Do I have any regrets. None whatsoever. I think I look awesome. The shape of my head is perfect for a natural, short style, if I must say so myself. I like my hairline. Even without makeup I don’t think I look masculine and I did manage to get through this entire first day without one “can I help you sir”. My vision for how I want to wear my hair is changing. I’m really feeling this short hair. Time to do some earring shopping and maybe, just maybe I’ll let someone teach me how to apply make up and start wearing it in public more often.

What is a Plinth?

Merriam-Webster provides these definitions:

1a: the lowest member of a base SUBBASE b: a block upon which the moldings of an architrave or trim are stopped at the bottom 2: a usually square block serving as a basebroadlyany of various bases or lower parts 3: a course of stones forming a continuous foundation or base course

Why am I posing that question? Thanks to CenterBank and their Vice President, Manager, Doug Barnaclo, I’m going to be able to move forward with painting my house!!!! With earnest I’ve been obtaining bids from painters and one asked me what I planned to do with my second floor trio of windows, one located on each side of the house. They are the only windows on the house that have “plinths” and they are in really bad shape or missing entirely.

Stock Street side of my house. 2nd from left plinth is half missing; 3rd is just a chunk of 2×4
Neighbor side of house. 1st from left is a chuck of wood, 2nd I took down and will show later, 3rd half missing

I’m going to work on the neighbor side first as I can reach these from inside my master bedroom. The Stock Street side is the master bath and the two smaller windows don’t open. I have a crappy extension ladder, so I may invest in a new one or at least purchase a ladder stabilizer. I didn’t intend to remove the original completely, but it didn’t put up a fight as clearly the piece was already broken and poorly attached with just caulk. I learned what these were called during a chat with Architectural Depot representative Sam Pease. I found this company on the internet over a year ago when I was looking for something to create a round effect at the top of my dormer windows (I talked about that problem in my post 2nd Floor Windows Finally Complete, Sort Of). I sent him a similar picture and he sent me a link to the products they carry. The closes I could find in the width I needed was the Ekena Millwork PB06X09X01DI 6 1/4-Inch W x 9 3/4-Inch H x 1-Inch P Diane Plinth Block, which I found cheaper on Amazon.

The problem with this plinth, is it’s thinner than the original wood piece. It’s longer too, but I can cut away the access length when I cut the needed angle. This plinth is also a little more decorative than the original. I’ve already worked through my mind how to solve the thickness issue, so stay tuned for a future post on that.

What I’m still wrestling with is how much of the ornateness to keep. Clearly I will cut away the majority of the bottom of the Diane plinth, but I could also cut off layers from the top. I’m leaning towards option 2, which means I’ll have a opening at the top of this plinth. I’m thinking that shouldn’t be an issue as the opening shouldn’t be exposed as this piece is resting under the pilaster and I could use caulk to fill the space. I’d love your thoughts as I plan to finish the headboard project before jumping into this. Also I’ve only ordered two of these plinths, since I’m pulling another of my famed MacGyver tricks to deal with the thickness issue. I’ll order the other 6 if it works. If anyone knows of a thicker product, other than a custom milled piece, let me know.

Calling An Audible

Properly cut rafters I believe was the most important aspect of building my shed.  I messed up on my one attempt and gave up on trying again.  My former neighbor got the job done, but he wasn’t neat about the cuts.  I would have been.  He used a jig saw, all hand cuts.   I would have used my miter saw to at least ensure the lengths were consistent . They weren’t the same lengths, depths of cuts on the angles weren’t consistent.  It was noticeable to the naked eye, but not significant or so I thought.  He joked that its just a shed.  Well………I believe those imperfections were the main cause for my panels not meeting on the corners.  The gaps weren’t consistent either.  The plans did not call for any trim on the back of the shed.  I would have to add to hide the gap.

First step was putting the fascia boards on the front and sides.  When I did the front it revealed how crooked the roof sheeting was.  This would not have happened if the Voerhang plates had been installed correctly. The left side extended past the fascia, so since that was a small panel I decided to remove it and push it back.  Doing so narrowed the gap in the back that bothered me when I hung it with my neighbor.  The plan called for two 52 1/4″, 1x4s.  Since I needed to purchase more pieces for the back, I got 10′ lengths, so that could be one solid piece.  I couldn’t see why there was a reason for two pieces outside of the plan listed all 8′ length boards.  Putting the drip edge on top of the fascia makes total sense to me now.

The side fascia had more thought involved.  Adding the back trim meant I was extending the back of the shed, which I would need to account for.  It meant altering the length called for in the plan by the width of the trim board, 3/4″. I cut it an inch longer as the gap at the top was wider than bottom.  The plans called for a 67 degree angle, which is beyond the range of my miter saw.  After the rafter issue I bought a digital angle finder from Home Depot.  Worked like a charm, especially when I applied my straight-edge technique before cutting.

Adding the trim on the vertical sides would mean there would be a 3/4″ gap between the trim pieces at the top.  I wasn’t sure how that would impact installing the drip edge or shingles at the top, so I decided to add a horizontal trim piece as well.  I could have easily installed the 1×4 board cut to the right length, but I knew the slope of the roof was 23 degrees.  I decided to rip the side of the board at 23 degrees also (ok, I was showing off at this point, for who I don’t know).  Once I got the piece installed, it revealed how crooked my back panel install was.  This is where working solo was not wise.  No worries, I used my reciprocating saw to remove the excess with my 23 degree angle as my guide.

I had already cut the rear side trim per the plans, so that created another gap at the top that probably wouldn’t be an issue, but I decided to create to cap pieces to conceal a crevice I thought would make a great place for bees or hornets to nest in.  At this point I considered myself an angle master.  The top angle was 23 degrees, while the bottom was 67.

With the sun setting fast I wanted to get the rear drip edge on, so I could jump on the shingles on the next dry day, but the gap between the back siding and roof sheathing was wider than the drip edge.  More audibles would be in store and the shed project would carry over into another week.

She’s So Cute

Painting the shed in my house colors was brilliant as it confirms that my house is going to be gorgeous when I get it painted.

This will be a short post as I didn’t do a lot, but what was done was substantial.  I put the 1×3 trim around the door opening.  I painted it before hanging with Lowe’s Valspar Duramax tinted in Sherwin Williams’ Incredible White.  Lowe’s didn’t carry the Weathershild I bought for the shed in quarts.  I ordered the T-hinges from Amazon and stupidly only ordered two sets.  I needed three, so the shed won’t be officially complete until Monday when the third set arrives.

Hanging the doors was amazingly easy.  I pulled out my house jack again which worked like a charm.  I had both doors hung in less than an hour.  Rains are returning on Sunday, so tomorrow I’m going to focus on the roof, with hopes of having the shingles on by end of the day.  Even if I don’t get everything finished, with the doors it’s a functional storage unit and ready to store my yard tools.

Sugar Tin Pies

Why am I featuring a picture of a pie in the middle of my shed build project?  This was my reward for the end of this phase of work.  Sugar Tin Pies (@sugartinpies) is a new cottage industry that just started up in Cincinnati by Cassandra Jones, a person I met at one of my client’s conferences.  This is her 6″ pie, the perfect size for me.  I’ll get three servings out of it.

I was looking forward to the weekend, so I could put a full day into the project.  Rain was 20200424_163317coming in the afternoon on Saturday and expected to rain all day Sunday.  Bone head move on my part, I decided to start the day installing the drip edge followed by the roofing paper.  Well the drip edge actually also goes on top of the fascia.  I’m not sure why or how I managed to skip several pages in the plans, but I wasted valuable time and will have to remove it when I do get to the fascia.  Fortunately only a waste of about $10 in material.

Per the plans, I ordered 6 sheets of T1-11 siding.  I cut the two front pieces from the same sheet.  The two sides were a sheet each.  The back would take two full sheets, so I realized I didn’t have enough for the two doors.  In hindsight I should have cut a door and one front piece from the same sheet, it would have been nice if the plans told you to do that. This was a bit more expensive mistake as it meant buying another sheet at $35.  I got it from Home Depot, so they could cut it for me otherwise I couldn’t get it home.  I had them cut it to the exact length of 70 1/2″, but only cut enough width that allowed it in my car.  I did the fine tune cutting at home.  In route to home I picked up my pie, but Cassandra also made me some spaghetti sauce.  I could smell the rain coming, so if I had any hope of getting the sides up I needed to work fast.

The front pieces are only 18″ wide, so very easy to handle and nail up.  The plans called for 2″ 6d nails, so I had to bag my little friend and pull out my hammer.  Nails every 8″ on each stud.  The side pieces took a bit more work.  I really could have used another person, but I pulled out my house jack and that worked amazingly well.  So well that I jacked the roof rafter up.  I expected it to stop/give resistance once the top met the Voerhang plate, but it didn’t.  The ease in which that rafter came up was concerning.  One bad storm with gusty winds and I could see my shed roofless, so I decided to reinforce the connections with 4″ Timberlock screws that I had.  Now the two extra rafters Bill had me add had a purpose.  For the back side I was able to easily add the screws into them as the were offset from the wall stud.  The front was a bit more complicated because of the additional support beams and angles to reach the right part of the rafter.  In the case where I could drill straight up, but had three boards to go through, I drilled a 1/2″ hole through the bottom board.  That would allow the screw to go into the rafter by at least an inch.  For the rafter where an angle was involved.  I drilled at an angle and then inserted the screw.  I could see the rafters drawing up tight.  This was a very smart add on.

I got the left side and front up with sunny skies.  The right side up in steady rain.  The back would have to wait for another day.  The beauty of this rain is it forced me to stop working at decent time to eat and I had not worked to the point of exhaustion that day.

The main reason I lost so much weight on my house restoration project is I was too tired to cook, or stopped to late to order delivery, or it was too late to eat if I did (I don’t like to go to bed on a full stomach). Thanks to Cassandra I had dinner waiting.  My cousin Alex had stopped by to bring me 20200425_190815face trimmers for my dogs and she was kind enough to stay long enough to cook some pasta noodles for me.  I just had to heat up some garlic rolls.  I’m not sure how I got to age 55 without ever having a significant other in my life, but I sure hope Mr. Right can cook and would enjoy preparing a meal for me to eat at the end of a hard days work.  The sauce was fabulous, hearty with a slight kick.  I ate it while watching The Way Back on Amazon Prime (not as good as I hoped it would be).

It was only about 8:30p, so I decided to wait on that first slice of pie and go in the basement to work on the doors.  I used my straight edge method again and got the width made.  If you haven’t figured out yet the shed colors will match the house colors, right down to yellow doors.  I had about a half quart of the yellow left and same of wood primer.  I knew it wouldn’t be enough for both doors, but buying quarts would be cheaper than gallons.  On my full stomach of pasta I lost all track of time.  I got both doors built, but ran short on primer.  It was after midnight at this point, too late to enjoy pie.

Sunday I ran to Sherwin Williams to get another quart of Harvest Yellow and Ace Hardware in Clifton for a quart of primer (no way was I paying SW prices for a shed door-I had used up some Kilz 2 primer I had in basement, so bought more of that, $10).  I applied the primer and let it dry while I worked on a client’s project.  Cassandra called to let me know she had made me another treat, a garlic cheddar, tomato, and spinach quiche.  I’ll have a great breakfast or lunch tomorrow.  She brought it around 6pm, so that prompted me to return to the basement and apply the yellow paint.  Doors complete.

I finished early enough to enjoy a bacon cheeseburger for dinner and my first slice of peach pie.  It was worth the wait.  The crust was made from scratch and it was flavorful, 20200426_235525flaky, and tender to the chew.  Honestly this is one of the best peach pies I’ve ever had.  Not overly sweetened, which made the scoop of vanilla ice cream I had not feel like a put a teaspoon of sugar in my mouth.  The peaches were firm, not mushy like so many that I’ve had.  She definitely did not use can peaches.  Her blend of spices were point on.  I most certainly tasted cinnamon, perhaps a hint of ginger and lemon peel too.  I’ll definitely get another as a reward for the finished project, this time cherry.

A Musical Interlude

Twelve years ago I met and became friends with a beautiful soul, Norma Petersen.  She passed away a few years ago in her 90s, but I remain friends with her even more beautiful family.  Her son Steve Petersen is my real estate agent; he helped me sell my childhood house and worked with me for almost a year before I found my current home.  His daughter Anna is the talented welder that helped me save my vintage cement basement sink.

Norma with Adam and SusanCovid-19 is slowing down my projects and thus posts, so I thought I’d share something that I hope you’ll find even more uplifting.  Steve’s wife Susan is a cellist with the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra and their son Adam is a gifted musician and graduate of the University of Cincinnati College Conservatory of Music.  I’ve had the pleasure of hearing this duo live when they played at Norma’s 85th birthday party.  In our forced state of Stay at Home, they’ve gotten together to share their talents, I’m sure, to spread joy to all that are missing live classical performances.  This is their rendition of Chopin Cello Sonata, Op 65, Adagio.  ENJOY!

If you would like to hear more music from this fabulous mother son duo they released a CD in 2014 called Swan Song; music inspired by the great cellist Pablo Casals and his famous recordings of some of the most treasured pieces in the cello repertoire.