Sunday, March 31, 2013

Powder Room Progress

The long-neglected first floor powder room finally got some attention this weekend. Scott is working hard to get the bathroom ready for tile and was able to tie-up several loose ends.
In order to hook-up the ventilation fan, a piece of flexible duct had to be fed to the 1972 attic space. Scott adapted a piece of PVC pipe so that the duct could pass through the wall of the 1920 house to the 1972 attic. Lucky for us, Scott had saved this piece of PVC for approximately 16 years. It was leftover from a drain tile project at Grant Street.
The ventilation fan is secured in the 1972 attic. Scott placed the fan in the attic during the summer of 2011.
 Struggling with the flexible duct was not very fun!

After a few more things were buttoned-up, Scott installed cement board around the perimeter of the room. He's happy with the amount of work accomplished this weekend, and is ready to install drywall and Duroc on the floor.
Stay Tuned for Our Next Adventure!

Signs of Spring Pop-up at noTTafarm!

Spring has been slow to arrive in the Omaha area this year but we are finally seeing "green" sprouting. Scott and I took a break from indoors work on Saturday to take a short stroll outside in the glorious 67-degree sunshine.
 Of course, our buddy Bibbers came along for our walk but kept a safe distance.
Ta-Da! The crocus are up and the deer have not yet discovered their tender green stalks.
Sadly, these two pine trees are victims of our terrible drought and pesky pine wilt/beetle disease. We will have to find time to dispatch them later this spring.
Happy Spring!*
*Disclaimer: as I type this, it is snowing. <sigh>

Staining Monopolizes the Weekend (Again)

Now that the woodworking effort on the first floor is complete, the staining fun moved to the second floor. I've really gotten the hang of staining, and Scott is able to concentrate on tougher stuff like preparing two bathrooms for tile. Check out the progress!
Before heading off to church for Good Friday services, I was able to get the first coat on the small closet door and trim. The trim extends to the inside of the closet, too, so it's twice as much fun!

Saturday morning, I got started by putting the first coat on the laundry closet doors and trim. Scott turned the washer and dryer 90-degrees so I could reach the above-door trim on the inside of the closet. The next time you visit, I hope you poke your head inside our closets to see all of this work I'm going through!
After the second coat of stain was on both closets, I turned my attention and nitrile-gloved hands to the big bank of east-facing windows. It took almost three hours to get the first coat done since every edge of the windows needed coverage. The second coat went on quickly after lunch on Sunday.
The door to the master bedroom was the next to get a first coat. Sadly, I used up my last roll of green Frog tape so will make yet another run to Home Depot tomorrow to stock up. I tried really hard to do all of this staining without making a mess and the tape offers some protection against my sloppiness.
To use up the remaining stain from gallon number two before stopping for the weekend, I put one coat on the hallway side of our master closet door. I will continue the staining effort throughout the week with the goal of spending next weekend applying three coats of poly to everything.
Stay Tuned for Our Next Adventure!

You Again?!

Spring has finally sprung at noTTafarm! The weekend was lovely with clear blue skies and temps in the low 60s. Bibbers spent some time relaxing in the sunshine on the south patio. His two-cat audience was undoubtedly jealous of his outdoorsy lifestyle.
Silly Kitties!

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Family Dinner Tests New Space

With Portland residents niece Kate and her boyfriend Alessio in town for the first time in months, Marita summoned all of the Camps for a family dinner Monday evening. Before we sat down for a roasted chicken dinner, Scott played tour guide, and showed his brother, niece, and nephews all of the updates. I was thrilled to be able to really test the capabilities of the new kitchen and am pleased to report that preparing food for a crowd was relatively painless.
Lingering over Dinner
We pushed three tables together to provide plenty of space for 12 diners (and room to spare.) It was great to have everyone seated together, and conversation was easy (ranging from how to squeeze toothpaste to NCAA basketball.)
Kate was reunited with Wilson
As you'll remember, Wilson came to us a few months back after originally living with Kate in Denver. She and our great niece Sophie were happy that he has settled in to the noTTafarm branch of the family.
The Camp Kids
Pete with his Sophie, Carl ("Na"), Marita ("NaNa"), Kate,  Andrew, Pat
The Camp Family
Scott, Kristin, Kathleen (Pat's newly-announced fiancee!), Pat, Andrew, Pete & Sophie, Kate, Marita, Jeff, Alessio, and Carl. We were only missing Tonya who stayed home, under the weather.
We hope to have big family gatherings more often!

A Cat with No Name

While Scott was working on the Coat Cubby, he noticed a new kitty enjoying the cat food in the courtyard. We have not seen this shaggy little guy before but he's pretty cute. What should we name him/her? Any ideas are welcome!
Will this little guy become a noTTafarm regular? Stay tuned to find out!

In other cat news . . . Monday night, Scott noticed yet another cat stuck in one of the new basement window wells! Much like the Bibbers tragedy of January, a fluffy yellow and white cat was stuck in the southern of the two west window wells. This time, the step ladder did the trick; the cat was gone this morning. Scott believes he has seen this particular cat around before but he's not one of our regulars. I can tell you that he was NOT happy about being stuck, and hissed and hit the window if you got too close.
Since I didn't take any photos, the illustration above will give you an idea of the cat's appearance.
Stay Tuned for More Animal Tales!

Project Potpourri

In addition to continuing the staining/poly-coating effort, several other projects had our attention over the weekend. On Saturday, Carl made a good effort at sanding the formerly-wallpapered walls in the long-neglected 1972 entry hallway. Scott worked for an hour or so at framing the openings in the library wall. Now it's up to me to scrape any remaining wallpaper before we can finally get this area ready for painting.
 Believe it or not, this messy wall is 100% better than it was before the sanding began.
But whose great idea was it to use a power sander? 
Every surface of the library and old kitchen was covered by fine white dust. <sigh>
Saturday afternoon, Carl began sanding the woodwork on the connector landing. Throughout the day and again on Sunday, he tirelessly ran a sanding block over every surface of the bank of east-facing windows and the doors to the closet, laundry closet, and bedroom. Let me tell you - that pine is smooth! I am looking forward to attacking these areas with stain later this week.
Someone give this man a medal! He works way too hard.
While Carl sanded, Scott prepared Duroc for the floor of the master bathroom. He got all of the pieces measured, cut, mortared, taped, and mortared again. Could it be that we will soon begin the tiling process yet again?
Sealing the seams and screw holes with mortar
On Saturday, I concentrated on staining and poly-coating a basement full of baseboards. By Sunday afternoon, Scott was able to install the rest of them in the first floor connector and entry way.
Some of these will end up in the master bedroom. Not many left to cut, fit, stain and poly!
Sunday evening after the baseboards were installed, Scott trimmed out the newly-dubbed Coat Cubby in the east entry. We now have six stainless hooks available for coats and what-not.
Even the tiny Coat Cubby has complete baseboards. 
Be sure to take a peek next time you visit (but don't hurt your neck craning to see the corners.
Working on the Coat Cubby Coat Rack
I forgot to mention that Scott finished staining and poly-coating the new entry door. It looks so beautiful!
The finished Coat Cubby!

That was a busy weekend! I wonder what we'll get accomplished this week?
Stay Tuned for Our Next Adventure!

Monday, March 18, 2013

Sand, Stain, Poly, Sand, Wipe, Poly Repeat

This past week, we've continued the woodwork finishing effort. It's been a lot of the same motions over-and-over but we're making good progress.
There's Lots of Sanding . . .
After the first coat of brush on poly dries, 220 sandpaper takes off all the little bumps and leaves a smooth surface.
There's Lots of Wiping . . . 
After the first coat of poly is sanded, a tack cloth removes all the dust.
There's Lots of Poly-ing. . . 
In addition to the first coat of brush-on, everything gets a second coat of wipe-on poly. It's less stinky than the brush-on and easier to do (for me, anyway.)
. . . And No More Frog Tape!
The best part about finishing a section of woodwork is removing the green frog tape. The woodwork looks great and we're getting closer to being "done."
Stay Tuned for More Progress!

House Guests

With country pop princess Taylor Swift in Omaha to kick off her new tour, noTTafarm's hospitality was put to a real test this week. No, Taylor didn't stay with us but we did welcome three of Taylor's biggest fans:  our two nieces (Chelsie and Lauren) and friend Katie. You may remember them from way back in May, 2011 Taylor "Speak Now" Tour but this time they got to stay in our guest room and have homemade waffles for breakfast.
Katie, Lauren, Chelsie
All dressed up in lace dresses and cowboy boots for the concert!
Chelsie and Wilson got to know each other
Lauren and Her Phone are Inseparable
Upon arrival late Thursday afternoon, Lauren announced that, since UN-Kearney is on Spring Break, she would be staying at noTTafarm for a yet-to-be-determined amount of time. Well, OK! Good thing she is low maintenance...just needs a blanket, a television, and internet access and she's good to go. She has since decided to go back to Kearney on Wednesday after a slumber party Tuesday night with some sorority sisters. It's been fun having her with us, and Leo and Wilson have enjoyed the extra cuddling.
Are You Ready to Make Your Reservation?

Monday, March 11, 2013

Snow, Stain, Snow

The weatherman missed the boat this time. No dire predictions of a major snow "event" . . .no warnings from the mayor to stay off the roads . . .just a good ol' fashioned Sunday snow storm to wind down our winter. I made it to church in time to help usher the other 19 people that braved the wind, then made it home and hunkered down with Scott, Leo, and Wilson to work on baseboards and door trim.
While I was at church, Scott installed the baseboards in the pantry! These are the first of many that we'll process over the next few weeks.
The new fiberglass door at the east end of the connector required gel stain. I trusted Scott's steady hand with the brush for this task while I sanded and stained baseboards in the basement.

By 6PM Sunday, we had about seven inches of heavy, wet snow blanketing everything. Scott went out in the Ranger for about an hour to clear the driveway. Snow continued to fall overnight, adding another inch or two.

Monday evening, I finally got to stain the colonnade! My effort got a "thumbs up" from the boss, so I was quite pleased with myself. Tomorrow after work, I will add two coats of poly.
I also put two coats of wipe-on poly on the baseboards that were stained yesterday. These will be ready for Scott to install Tuesday, and then I can sand, stain, and poly the next batch.
Stay Tuned for Our Next Adventure!

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Back to Base-ics

As the finish work continues, our attention this week turned to base boards and wood trim. We've been measuring, cutting, staining, and poly-coating lots and lots of pine. We still have a way to go but at least we have a system down so we know what to expect.
I was responsible for staining the trim and doors in the entryway. Here's a "before" picture, complete with Leo ready to watch the fun.
Meanwhile, Scott cut the baseboards to size then stained each piece on a big table in the basement. He made many, many trips up and down the stairs Saturday to make sure all the parts and pieces fit correctly. We were lucky to have Carl spend Saturday with us, too! He did a great job of staining.  Thanks, Dad! After two coats of stain, the baseboards will get two coats of poly before being nailed into place.
By 5PM Saturday, I had two coats of stain on the door leading to the garage and the trim around three doors. I need to buy some gel stain to take care of the big entry door so stay tuned for that! It's amazing how much better all of the wood looks with a little color!
Scott fits each piece of baseboard then labels its location before taking the pieces back downstairs for stain. We hope to begin installing it on Sunday, beginning with the pantry. 
Stay Tuned for Our Next Adventure!

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Clock Begins to Tick on Final Projects

No more time to take our time! We locked in our mortgage rate this week which means that in less than 60 days, the construction loan magically turns into a mortgage but only after the appraiser stops by to give the house his final "OK." The bulk of the items on our "to-do" list needs to be crossed off before April 20th so we have rededicated ourselves to getting stuff done, and made a decent start this weekend.
Saturday morning, Scott set out to move the dishwasher from the old kitchen to its new home. Finally, the new kitchen would have all of its appliances installed and operating!
He even had the instruction manual ready, just in case. 
Everything went smoothly, and the dishwasher was ready to test. Scott flipped the breaker switch on, and then the newly required shut-off switch under the sink, and . . . the entire house died. Not just the kitchen . . . the power throughout the house was dead. No amount of flipping switches in the panel worked, so Scott called the electrician. Shane explained to Scott where the main breaker switch was located, and once he flipped it, the power came back on.

Scott then had to solve the mystery of why this snafu occurred. First, he checked the power connection at the dishwasher but that was done correctly. Next, he checked the shut-off switch under the sink. The dishwasher and garbage disposal share a junction box which has an outlet to plug-in the disposal. Scott discovered the power going to the outlet was incorrectly tied to the dishwasher switch instead of the outlet, so when the switch was flipped, the circuit for the disposal became tied to the dishwasher circuit causing the main panel breaker to trip. Swapping the black disposal wire to the outlet and the black dishwasher wire to the switch fixed the problem and everything worked like it should.
Good job, Scotty!
Since a large variety of tasks all over the house need to be completed, Scott worked on refurbishing the old register vent for use in the 1920 bathroom. He had to use the Dremel tool to reshape the edges of the vent so that it would fit around the bathtub connection and the cove base of the new tile.
After two fresh coats of glossy spray paint, the vent was installed and looks pretty spiffy.
Scott also hung up a chrome shelf for extra storage.
While Scott worked on the bathroom tasks, I broke out the rubber gloves and stain. The pantry door and trim look even better after two coats of stain. I hope to keep the momentum going, and continue to stain a little bit each evening. The only bad part about staining is that it has to be followed by two coats of poly...and that stuff stinks. But, with 50-degree temps forecast for next weekend, we may be able to have a window or two open.
Leo kept watch over the weekend's activities, of course.
Stay Tuned for More Progress!