Sunday, October 25, 2009

Looking At My Old Work

I found a photograph of an oil painting I did a million years ago. I have no idea when I painted it. Its called "Old Books" I told DH Jon this morning, I'm really getting excited about opening my art studio. I can't hardly wait until I get an opportunity to sit down again at the easel. That will be next year--as the studio is far from finished.

Its been more than 15 years since I taught oil painting or did any commission work. Nonetheless, I know I can still make the magic happen, and what I learned over the years didn't run out of the end of my toes.

My studio will officially open for classes in the spring of 2011. Won't you join me? If you've never painted but always wanted to learn, you'll have the time of your life at my studio. I guarantee it!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Living Through A Whole House Restoration

We are into our third year of restoration. I've shown you photos of family members who gave a helping hand during our journey. And now, I've decided to include a photo of me, working on the old Victorian. Usually, I'm the camera man. I've taken hundreds of before and after photos of our journey into restoration land. This house and our work is a dream come true.

When we made our first "walk-thru" in the house, I sure didn't think it would take this long to bring this old house around. However, I'm glad it is taking some time. Along the way I've had a chance to research the two families who lived here before us, and the stories are remarkable and inspire us to continue. Each year I proclaim we'll have this wrapped up in one more year, then the year comes and goes. We make progress, but move at a snail's pace on most projects. If you love old houses like we do, you'll understand how we feel. We are the custodians of the Wrolstad-Quien home. It is an honor to work on this house.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Happy Halloween - Decorating

While treasure hunting, I found some wire mesh hanging baskets to recycle. I turned the cone shaped baskets upside down, and positioned halloween masks. I'll add some mini lights this evening. In the mix of things is a garden porcelain pan (not really cleaned since gathering the last of the tomatoes, green peppers from the garden). Jon harvested two wheelbarrows of squash: butter nut, acorn, and hubbard.
Below is the mail box at the east porch (summer kitchen door). I've had it for many years, and it was found in the garage at my parent's home. I don't know its origin (what ancester had it on their house). The squares design appears on the reproduction hardware in my kitchen. I've repeated the design in the kitchen cabinet glass panels.
Wreaths are usually expensive. But in this case I made 3 of them on the cheap. I found two flower bouquets and cut the bouquets apart, rewired flowers and leaves to inexpensive ready to decorate wreaths. A nice wreath at each of the 3 entrances for about $10 each.

Dad and Mom both worked on their share of screen doors for this old house. I believe Dad worked on the one shown here. Afterwards, he installed new black screening. Doesn't look like a 116 year old door, does it? But, it is!
Above is the east entrance (summer kitchen door). Jon rebuilt the railing July '09. Right now, I have a tub of spindles for the front porch--salvaging them to rebuild and reassemble for the front of the house.
The tub of spindles (about 3-4 dozen) Mom and I picked off aligatored paint, repaired and sanded while she was here in September for a week. Some of the spindles Jon used chemical stripper.
Some of the spindles we pieced back together with carpenter's wood glue. It worked very well. Quite a few spindles I dug out soft wafer like wood from the top of the bulb of the spindle. Carefully I added wood filler and allowed to dry. Then again, add more wood filler until the bulb was rounded, then lots of hand sanding to smooth. This activity in September resulted in a sprained thumb for me. It is still sore as heck.
Jon's cousin Lloyd shaped (milled) the two piece horizontal railings, and the remaining straight pieces are 2 x 2. We're leaving the step railing as is--because its probably been there for the last 50 years--works just fine--and no particular need to deconstruct it.

Above is a wooden box Jon found in the barn. It says, Scandinavia Co-Op Mercantile Co., Scandinavia, WI. (That's our little town, population 350). Also pictured is Jon's favorite brown rocking chair--picked up at an auction for $30. I recovered the cushion with some colored indian corn chaneille fabric.

Building the Two Story Garage - more photos

Jon had some help yesterday from Eric. They positioned and secured the rafters for the second story roof. This morning Jon lifted the 4 x 8 sheets of OSB sheeting to the rafters.
I journeyed to the back of the garage and climbed up the ladder to snap a photo of the second floor studio.

Above is a view of the roughed in studio. In the middle of the 12 x 48' studio will be a five foot corridor to the right, and opening for the stairs to the left of the corridor. The stairs will reach the second floor by means of a west end dormer (not yet built). The dormer second floor landing will make a "u" turn and enter the upstairs studio. There will be a matching east dormer at the five foot corridor. I can see it in my mind, however, it will be next spring before the dormers are built. Winter is coming on too fast, and Jon is conscentrating on getting the roof on, windows and doors installed, and wrap second floor with Tyvek.

Jon lifts OSB sheets to roof line to install.

Jon putting bucket in position near the roof line to unload the OSB sheet.

At the base of the bucket you can see the brackets Jon welded to hold the OSB boards while making the lift.
He slides the sheet into position. After the first lift, Jon came into the house for a break, and said he's decided to change his approach on positioning OSB board.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Garage Build Continues

Yesterday DH Jon finished building the second floor walls, and then lifted each 60 lb. rafter and laid it upside down. Today he'll have some help positioning and securing the rafter sections. The OSB sheathing will go down, followed by roof paper and architectural shingles. The windows will be installed on the north end (street side), and a larger one at the south end. Winter is coming on fast. Heavy frost this morning. The final step before winter is to cover the second floor exterior with Tyvek, install main garage doors, and wire the garage.
This photo taken the second week of September. The garage lower level divided by wall. This divides the garage parking space from the workshop in the rear. The stairway to the second floor will be installed next spring.
Photo taken Oct 5th, before second floor was constructed.

DH build north wall on the ground, then lifted it into position with the bucket truck. Remaining walls were built on the second floor and lifted into position.
Jon built the second floor by himself. Amazing patience, and skill!

Above: Photo taken Oct 5.

Above Photo taken yesterday, Oct 9. Jon was very tired last night. It's been a cold, rainy week to build the second floor. This week he built the second floor walls in 16 ft. sections by himself, then lifted each one into position and secured. He is one strong dude.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Sweet Lucille, A Porch Person (Life-Size Doll)

Porch People Like Sweet Lucille are fun to make. I made her in an afternoon.

1. Take 2 standard pillows, hand sew them together together (end to end).

2. The lower pillow is split open vertically and sewn up again to make the thighs. Two fabric tubes are stuffed with sturdy but light weight pool noodles. Socks, shoes, clothing are adding during staging.

3. I make a fabric neck tube and stuff and hand sew to join head and torso. The top pillow stuffed is the torso.

4. To make Lucille sit up straight I use a 30" long wooden dowel for her spine. The wooden dowel begins at her bowel, travels up the back spine, and ends up penetrating her entire head. Ooooo, sounds like it would hurt doesn't it?

5. Two stuffed fabric tubes make the arms.

6. Head. 6 eclipse shaped fabric pieces sewn together and filled with poly fluff make a round head--you might use a pumpkin pattern. After the pumpkin head is stuffed, sew small buttons, one at either side of the head where you'll sew on the ears. Use the buttons as anchors. With a doll head needle (a needle that is 4-5" long), wrap end of the thread around one button, then pass the needle through the head horizontally to the other ear button. Cinch the thread tight to draw the head into a more oval shape and wrap the thread many times around the button to secure. Again, pass the needle back through the head to the other ear, cinch, and wrap the thread many times to secure. Take several stitches to firmly secure the oval shaped head.

7. Make "C" shaped ears out of several layers of fabric. Sew ears on either side of the head keeping the buttons behind the ears to hide them.

8. Add wig, hat, glasses, earrings, gloves, and there you have it . . . Lucille, a porch person.