Saturday, September 29, 2007

The Great Bathroom Remodel of 2007. The shower curtain debate.

I wanted a shower curtain that had a clear or mesh top. You know, something that would let in more light. I looked at the the usual places. That's right, no luck. Evidently, I'm the only person in the world that wants a shower curtain that lets you see what you're doing in the shower. That, or everyone else in the world has recessed lighting over their shower.

At any rate, I couldn't find what I wanted, so I headed to the fabric store to find something I did like. Honey and I agreed on a striped fabric that we thought would go with the tile, although the floor still doesn't match much of anything. He grumbled when I told him we'd have to buy new towels, too. I tried to make him feel better by pointing out that we'd only need a few, just enough to put up when guests come by. That made him feel a little better, but not much.

My answer to this question, was to use an inexpensive, clear vinyl liner for the top of my new curtain. I'd just have to trim it to the length I wanted (no need to have a really big see-through panel) and add fabric to the bottom (this also helped with the lazy factor, I didn't need to buy, or install, eyelets). I purchased a new liner and installed it. Since the old liner was too short, it would become my donor. I also purchased some new hooks, primarily because the blue ones just weren't working any more.

Measure this, measure that, start cutting. Well, I didn't actually cut much. I'm a big fan of the "snip & rip" method of cutting straight lines on long pieces of fabric. Thank goodness my fabric has wavy lines on it. Nothing worse than ripping a piece of fabric to find that the printing and the grain is all messed up.

Since pictures of me and my sewing machine fighting with several yards of fabric and some vinyl don't show well, you'll only get one picture. The finished curtain, hanging up in the bathroom with the linens that don't match. I'll work on that.

It doesn't feel claustrophobic inside the shower any more. You have enough light to find that dropped soap and you can actually see to shave. Now I just need some orange and yellow towels. Maybe I'll paint to floor yellow. Hmmm.....

Now, what do I do with the half-yard or so of left over fabric...

Thursday, September 27, 2007

The Great Bathroom Remodel of 2007. In my absence.

So, while I was away, Honey did some work on the bathroom. It's not done yet, but we're still making progress. The walls are painted, with just a little touch-up remaining.

The new vanity finally got put in (gee, I kind of miss it when I sit on the couch).

New faucet, some matching door-pulls for the vanity and the laundry shoot. Oh, yeah, and the door got put back up. Yay! Privacy returns to the bath!

The towel rods got put in. (I tried to tell Honey that the high one is too high, but he's tall, so he doesn't see it as a problem.) Now, there is room for everyone to hang up their towels. Seriously, who thought a 2/3 bedroom house with a single bath could get along with just one towel rod in the bath?

The floor is still a mess and the ceiling could use another coat of paint. It's still a work in progress.

Here is the up-to-date long-shot of the bath.

Monday, September 24, 2007

The neverending scarf.

A friend of mine inquired about me making him a Doctor Who scarf. Foolishly, I said I could do it. If you haven't looked around the internet for the instructions for this wonderful wardrobe item, you haven't lived. Let's just say... I'll be at this until Mid-Winter. Heck, I'm hoping the weather doesn't turn warm again before I'm finished.

There are not quite as many different Doctor Who scarves as there are Doctors, but it's close. I decided on the Series 12 version provided by a wonderful collector. He broke it down into simple terms. Not that it's complicated. Row after, row after, row... you get the idea. Garter stitch until you can't stand it any more, then you probably do it for five more feet. So far, I've worked through what I think is about 25% of the the pattern instructions. The scarf is over six feet long already (I think my measurement today was just over 80 inches).

I'll try to keep you updated on this monumental project. It isn't something I can work on exclusively. It is a wonderful sit & knit project for TV watching, though. Simplicity. Besides, I think it's fun to watch the new series with David Tennant and knit along. Torchwood isn't bad either.

For those of you that must know, I threw caution to the wind and decided to make it my own way, sort-of. The pattern calls for DK weight yarn and size 6 (US) needles. Even knowing it will take just as long, I opted for worsted weight and size 8 (US) needles. This means that the 60 stitches (counted on the original scarf) comes out around 12 inches wide. This will be a monster scarf.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

The sprained knee...

So, within 30 minutes of arriving home after my cruise, Baby and Reesey barrel into my left side, taking out my knee. After a little self pity and a small grass stain on the right knee, I headed to the clinic. There I got x-rays to determine that I hadn't broken anything, but had mild swelling. Granted, I didn't need an x-ray for that, but I'm not a doctor. A knee brace, some medication and a limited duty chit later I was sent on my way.

Stuck on the couch, I decided on a new project. Yes, yes, I know. I have something like twenty projects in the works at any given time. Yes, the Doctor Who scarf is still in the works. I don't plan on that being complete for quite some time.

My friend Triple-A purchased some really scrumptious yarn the last time we visited Portland, ME. It's JCA's Blizzard, an Alpaca (65%) Acrylic (35%) blend. Very soft. It also sheds almost as much as Baby does. She originally purchased enough to knit a hat and a scarf. She successfully knit the hat, but lost interest on the scarf. Knowing her like I do, I decided that I'd just knit it up for her. So, knee in brace and under ice, now seemed like a good time. She'd seen a pattern in the newest issue of Knit.1 and decided that's what she wanted. I picked up the yarn and sat down to get started.

Like usual, I can never follow the pattern to the letter. I've tried, really, but sometimes the directions just seem dumb. My way is better, anyway. The pattern is for a cute little hat with ear flaps that are knit long enough to wrap around your neck. I'm sure that in the winter it will be a wonderful item for keeping warm and fashionable. Here is the cap of the hat.

She had four balls of the alpaca blend; two in a light green, two in a chocolaty brown. I actually completed the green one first, so a little bit of the green ended up in the brown one. Here you can see the top, with the edges bound off waiting for the ear flaps to be added on. Again, the green part is where I completely ignored the pattern and did it my way. I kind of like it.

I had to use up all the yarn, or she'd never find a use for it. Even after the two hats, I had some brown left over. I'm thinking it should be enough for a headband, something just to keep the ears warm.

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Just a little work on the "bathroom from hell" today.

Today we tried to keep things low stress. Just putting up the curtain rod, adding caulk around the faucet handles and putting the closet in order. Some things got thrown out, some got put in their new place. The room is by no means complete (paint still needs to go up and the door is still missing in action). It should be serviceable until my return. I'll be departing for a "cruise" tomorrow. I'll see you when I get back.

Here is the closet in finished form. I think we still have some things to go back in, but it shouldn't be a problem now that there's room for everything. Biggest plus? Everything is easy to find!

The long shot of the bath shows that I still need a decorative curtain for the shower. Right now there is something to keep the water in, but nothing to maintain privacy. The upside? It makes the room look just a little bit bigger.

When I return, you will get an update on my newest knitting project: A Doctor Who scarf (season 12, if you pay attention to such things). My recommendation for this project? Watch the show while knitting!

Saturday, September 8, 2007

The Atlas of Barlowe the Explorer

Today is a day off from the evil bathroom.

Today was the completion, heck the beginning all the way to the end, of the first copy of Barlowe's Atlas. If you don't know what it is, well, I can't tell you.

The challenge: Create a book from a stack of paper, some file folders, a piece of cotton canvas, a piece of ribbon, a piece of leather cord and a bunch of glue. Lots and lots of glue.

First order of business, figure out a way to get all those pages to stick together. My plan, since the sheets are not intended to be folded, is to use my sewing machine to stitch small sections (about four sheets) together. Here are the completed sections, ready for the first encounter with glue.

I put rubber cement on the edge past the stitching, matched up the edges as best I could and got it all stuck together. We ran around like crazy people looking for the clamps. We couldn't find the clamps anywhere. I did a quick search on the web, to try to show Honey what I wanted when I realized we have a vise in the basement. Some scrap lumber and a couple turns on the vise, and the pages were left to become more book-like.

While the pages were getting all stuck together, I went to work on the cover. Simple cotton canvas, purchased at the fabric store for less than I'd thought it would be. I glued shut file folders and cut each to fit the pages of the book. More rubber cement to get everything stuck together.

I added more rubber cement to get all the loose threads from stitching the pages together as well as to hold the bookmark ribbon. I used another piece of the canvas to cover up all the space used to glue it all together.

I asked Honey to poke some holes in the now well stuck pages of the book. Here was the quick and easy answer. It also kept the amount of tearing I was afraid of down to a minimum. Once I had the cover done, he did the same with it.

Holes everywhere there needed to be holes. I began the process of weaving the leather in and out of the holes. I didn't want the holes to be so big you could definitely see them once the lacing was in, so it was a challenge to get it in. I used a pair of needle-nose pliers to get it done.

After tightening all the lacing, I had to decide how to finish off the lacing. After two attempts (actually, I ended up with the first version) I got it right.

I got out the glue, and got back to making it all stick together. This time I glued down the end papers, to complete the project. Put it under a stack of heavy books to make sure it all stayed flat long enough for the glue to set, wait a little while.... and success!

No flashy cover, no fancy graphics, just a simple tome.

Friday, September 7, 2007

The Great Bathroom Remodel of 2007. Day Three.

The all grout, all the time show. (Sep. 7th)

So, how hard can it be to grout? Well... I manage to get all the grout up. Then the fun begins.

Now, we clean up the really big mess I made with the grout. Sponge, water, wring, repeat. Careful, don't pull that carefully installed grout. Take a break, do it some more.

Don't worry. If you you mess it up, you can just do it over! Ugh!

Good thing the tub finish is already messed up. I'll hire a guy to fix that, later.

The weather is great for it. Hot enough to help my grout set, and hot enough to make us miserable while we work.

Grout may look like nothing more than something to stick in between tiles. Until you've tried to remove semi-dry or dry grout, you don't really appreciate its strength.

Closet shelving went together too easily. The catch? Well, thy didn't exactly fit in there the way I wanted. Seems when you measure a space you should take the baseboard trim into account. Ah, well, I didn't like it anyway. Trim removed, the darn things still didn't want to go in. Hmm... took a break, came back, and... all those hours of playing Tetris pays off again. A metal plate, a couple of drywall screws and it almost looks built-in. Just don't look at the trim that's now conspicuously missing.

At one point, we heard a strange sound from the front of the house. Along the lines of a loud crack, and a bang. Quickly, we rushed to find a tree branch had freed itself from the tree and found it's escape route blocked by Kid's parking space. Thank goodness his car wasn't in it at the time.

Honey secured the water to replace the valve seats for all the new valves. Dandy new valve seat tool still can't do the job. Honey goes back downstairs to turn on the water. With my back to the spigot (mind you, it's nothing more than a chunk of copper sticking out of the wall), I knew exactly when the water came back on. A straight stream clear across the tub to soak my backside. The yelp of surprise did get the water turned back off. Valves closed, we turned the water back on.

Caulk, it's all about caulk. Around fixtures, the new soap dish and where the tile meets the tub or wall.

Honey finally said the tile is done. It isn't done to perfection, but he says I'm not allowed to worry about it, at least not any more this week. I guess the painting will get done next week, when I'm not here.

I'm so glad I just wanted to put up some paint and get a new vanity. Remodelling the bathroom was such a great idea.

The worst news of all: I still hate the floor tile, and while I hated it before, now it doesn't match the rest of the room.

The Great Bathroom Remodel of 2007. Day Two

Blood, Sweat and Dust (Sept 6th)

Sometimes we worked together, sometimes we took different jobs. All around, it was a learning process.

Primed the patched holes in the closet. Another trip to the hardware store for a rotary hand-tool bit we wouldn't break trying to remove grout.

I did my best to poke holes in the wall while removing tile.

Honey primed and sealed the ceiling over the tub. He also primed the trim on the closet and the rest of the room.

I finally learned how to remove a tile without poking a hole in the wall.

I learned that sometimes fate wants two tiles removed instead of the one I was planning on removing.

Curse previous owner for wrongful use of spackle.

I found out how sharp bits of glazed tile can really be. Especially when stupid me was walking around a worksite without any shoes on. I did find some before the day was out, though. Something needed to cover the bandaid.

Honey removed the door to the 'scary room.' Now, we have a room in the middle of a remodel that has limited priviacy. I think that's one the home improvement guys don't warn you about. We decided to improvise with the old shower curtain. Granted, it isn't a door, but it's better than an open doorway.

I finally get all the tiles that are really damaged, or the really wrong color removed. I continued to remove grout, wondering the whole time WHY? Small rooms are not smal projects.

I cleaned up all the tiles that were good enough to go back up. This also saved me from having to cut a couple to shape to fit around the faucet handles.

Finally time to start putting the tiles back up. Plenty to learn here, too. I find out I've broken way more of the old tiles than I calculated. I find out I'll need way more mastic than I thought at the store. Time for another trip to the Home Improvement store. Honey runs off to the store, I get out the paint for the closet. I'll make some kind of progress today if it kills me. Okay, it didn't kill me, but I almost found out how to read the poison label with one eye. Good news, latex paint scrapes off of glasses and pretty much comes off people.

Honey returns with mastic. Time to go back to tiling. Don't forget the soap dish! We begin adding the border trim, only four cuts to make it all fit. Of course, I measure poorly, Honey cuts correctly, I attempt to force the tile... Oops. I guess that one really wasn't going to fit. Can I have another cut, please? At lease I learned how to mark for cutting. We find that four of our 45 border trim tiles are not the same color. Granted, with the lighting in my bathroom, no one will be able to find the two we actually put up. The worst part? We can't return them because I didn't notice until I'd stuck them to the wall that they were the wrong color. Oh, well, I challenge any guest to find the two off-color tiles.

Operation T.I.L.E. (Tile Ignorant Lady Endevor) is complete for another day. Clean up the room, scraping up mastic that we apparently sling all over the place while putting up tile. Clean the tub. It's time to take a bath. Careful, don't splash around, most of the grout is missing!

Day Three is all about grout. Cleaning grout, putting up grout, wiping grout, cleaning up the grout I've dropped in the tub. Grout, grout, grout. I don't think the room will ever get painted.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

The great bathroom remodel of 2007. Day one.

Day one (Sept 5th):

So, I wanted to do some cosmetic things to the bath room. You know, change the vanity, the shower curtain, paint a little bit. Then, things went crazy.

First, the prep work: We removed all items from the closet and bath. Removed shelving from the closet (leaving holes in the wall that would need patching, some bigger than others). Removed the wallpaper trim that had been painted over by the previous owner. Removed the towel rod (which was put up by evil house sprites, because we had to destroy it it get it out of the room). Sanded the walls to remove the gloss finis. Patched the holes we put in the closet walls. Patched holes in the walls.

This is where it went from some cosmetic work to more work. Honey got the bright idea that we should pull out the fiber-glass surround to see what was behind it. It wasn't as bad as it could have been, really. Of course, the side with the faucet and the handles was a pain. So much of a pain that we broke off the end of the valve step taking every one of them off. We've decided that fixing the tile will be better than covering it back up. How hard can tile be?

Ran to Home Improvement store to get tile and tiling supplies/tools. Forgot to take valves for comparison purposes. Returned home.

Secured the water, pulled valves for comparison at the store. Returned to Home Improvement store for replacement valves and associated hardware.

Back home again. Put the valves in, without handles (there is still tile work to be done). Turned the water back on and tested. Yay! the water is back on, and the house isn't flooded. Of course, a shower won't be in my immediate future.

Wish me luck in Day Two.