Puka Update…

Well Scott has the basics completed on the original closet that has been converted to our Knickknack Puka.

He went to make the shelves (for our knickknacks) Those shelves need to be made from plywood so that they are strong enough to not bend over time. They are 3/4 inch thick… Scott planned to put a front molding on them so they looked finished. But, I hate to tell you, but 3/4 inch molding is not really 3/4 it’s more like half inch. Therefore nothing fit correctly.

John, our “kitchen whisperer”, stopped by to see how we were doing. He loves the work that Scott has completed in the room.

sigh… not wide enough…

When he saw his struggle with the knickknack puka shelves, he said, “Let me make the molding for you.

So we are waiting for the molding for the shelves to be manufactured before completing the knickknack puka…

KnickKnack Puka…

I know it has been a while since I have posted anything about our future master bedroom. Things have been progressing… but very slowly. Please remember!!! My precious husband has NEVER EVER done work like this before.

Scott studies the situation, sits down and draws out what he wants to do, goes back and studies the situation some more. When he is comfortable, he will proceed. It is not uncommon, that he does one step, steps back, and studies the situation some more. He wants this done correctly. Until he is really comfortable, he will not proceed. That can be a few minutes, a few hours, or a few days. But, I know that when he starts, it will be done correctly.

This knickknack puka has been an absolute challenge for him, But what he has done is beautiful. First, he had to put in support for the box to be secure in the space. Then the box… Scott still does not have his Shopsmith set up(because he is trying to finish our bedroom). So he had to use a circular saw to cut the wood. That is much more challenging to do properly.

The priming, staining, and sealing of the wood was the easy part.

The box needed to be built in two parts…The lower half and the upper half. The center shelf is the stationary shelf that gives the whole box stability.

Then drilling the pukas (holes) for shelf placement possibilities. Again, if he had his Shopsmith it could be done quickly, but he is having to do it by hand. Measuring and re-measuring to make sure the pukas are aligned properly so we have straight shelves.

Temporarily, we are putting a plain frame around the Knickknack Puka.

But you can see the pattern that will be carved into the wood at a later time…

Splintered

As storms buffeted our area this past winter, one of the pine trees that line the far side of our garage… splintered. We are fortunate that it did not fall. It could have taken out a power line. But, Its branches entangled in the trees on either side, held it aloft. 

Splinter
helpful branches…

Yesterday, our tree doctor, came and removed the damaged tree. So now instead of twelve trees (that all need to be removed) we have eleven…

controlled removal…

April Showers…

Oh, April showers have come our way… but, this past Friday we had a surprise April snowfall…

Friday snow field…
Friday snowfall…
Snowy trees…
Beautiful tree…

All afternoon and  half the night, it snowed. By the time we awoke Saturday morning we had a good two to three inches of fresh snow, but the roads were clear. Scott and I enjoyed picturesque snow scenes as we drove to Troy, New York for a local quilt show. Here is one of the winning quilts.

Amazing Quilt…

Throughout the morning, temperatures rose… by the time we returned home, most of the snow was gone. But, we had had a beautiful morning treat.

For those of you who love dogs, cats, or children… you might appreciate the extent we go to when catering to our pups. We were ten minutes late returning home. First, please understand, our pups are fed on a schedule that only varies when we are away. Because we used a precise schedule with Josh, we do the same with the pups. Alarms go off three times a day for feeding, pills, and supplement administration. Any other needs are met with additional alarms. Both pups are quite in sync with the feeding times. They knew we were late and informed us immediately. 

Other quirks… Emmi came to us quite skittish. She had been in a house with nine children. I fear she may have not been treated with the gentleness her nature needed. She never detached from her birth mom and they had to pull her out from under her when we picked her up. She wailed… I cuddled her and told her we would keep her safe. After about thirty minutes, her wails reduced to sniffles and she cuddled tighter. She tries to be very protective, but runs to me, wanting up, when challenged. And, poor thing, she shakes uncontrollably if anything on the stove sizzles. So, now, nothing in our home sizzles. So, Emmi is on two different natural anti-anxiety supplements. They have helped. No one should have to be that terrified by life. 

Happy, having lost so much of her muscle mass, chills easily. And though she can rise and walk on her own again, she can not sit back down. We keep her pretty bundled. Her favorite spot is in a lap. Since Emmi claimed me, she has capitulated and accepted dad’s lap… though she still wants hugs and kisses from mom. Our biggest concern is… she will think she is a pup again and try to jump. Her bones are just too fragile… we hold our breath when she skitters about. 

bundled Happy licking nose…

Are they spoiled? Definitely! No denial on our part. But, they are great entertainment… 

Residual snow in our yard…

Cornices…

April 1 and we had a light dusting of snow awaiting us when we awoke. I like to think it was our Davey saying, “Hi, Mom” Today is the twenty-fourth anniversary of his leaving us… 

Well, Scott has all four cornices completed, but (isn’t there always a ‘but’?) in order to install the last cornice, he needs to lower the opening to the original closet. This ‘closet’ is the future home of recessed shelving for some of our treasures.  We decided to call this area our Knick knack puka… 

fourth cornice…
original opening
tight fit
lowered opening

Anyway, he framed in the necessary area and it is now dry walled and mudded. 

He has made so much progress he is removing the left-over wood scraps from all the window framing and cornice building. Then… (there’s always a ‘then’ too!) he is staging the woods for building our Knick knack puka… 

Update on our Happy dog… she is now standing (independently) and romping throughout the day. As well as  becoming quite vocal if we move without her approval. Our biggest fear is she might try to jump. We know that could be not successful and she could injure herself. We are watching her closely. 

So, all in all, progress is happening and we are all improving… 

Defrost…

Though we still have snow (dirty due to the passage of time) on the ground, today will be the first twenty-four hours (50° during day) without a freeze since sometime in December.

Dirty, dirty, snow…

Update on our Happy dog… the anti-inflammatory and pain medicine, plus the supplement (Purina’s Forti-Flora) suggested by Dr. Katelyn Sharpe for Happy have produced a miracle. Happy is now able to sit, stand, and walk independently. Though she still likes Daddy to help on occasion, she is growing more frisky each day. She has started dancing for her food. Pretty good for a pup that could hardly raise her head four months ago. 

Shout-out! I must mention that today is the birthday of a friend from college. The only one who ever came to visit, not once but twice,  when I was in Hawai’i. She is one of the sharpest wits I have been privileged to know for almost sixty years. 🎉🎂 Happy Happy Birthday, Bonnie! 🎂🎉 

Now to progress on the home front: Scott has almost completed the third of four cornice boxes. They are beyond what I dreamed would grace our windows. My wonderful hubby continues to fulfill all my dreams. Thank you, Sweetie…

Spring 2019…

Well, we still have snow on the ground, but it is melting quickly. I guess word is out.  Spring has sprung! 

Side note: We were out the other day and saw one of the shortest trains we’ve seen since being here… Just six cars…

I realize I have not been updating you lately. My precious husband had a physical and bloodwork drawn. Numbers on his bloodwork came back with a lot of questions. So he has had two procedures which have ruled out a lot of nasty possibilities. We have one more appointment at the beginning of April that I hope will rule out more nasty possibilities. But why his bloodwork is such a mess, we all wonder. Numbers that should be up are down and numbers that should be down are up. And, just in case you’re wondering, they redid the bloodwork to confirm that the numbers are accurate. Also, just in case you’re wondering, he is feeling fine. Maybe he’s just turned into an alien! 😏

Then this morning we took the puppies for check ups. As you all know, our Happy dog has been struggling with numerous health issues. They put her on a new painkiller that does not damage her liver but will help with the inflammation in her arthritic limbs. I asked if it was available for humans and learned  it is still just for our friends in the animal kingdom. They also prescribed probiotics which will also help with her inflammation. Actually, both puppies received prescriptions for special probiotics. Emmis are to help her remain calm. Who knew probiotics had so many benefits? Again, I asked if the special probiotics were available for humans and was assured that they are still just for the animal kingdom.

Between Scott’s tests and puppies needs, work on the bedroom has slowed to a crawl. But, Scott has finished installing the crown molding. He is now working on the cornices for the last three windows. Then it’s completion of the fireplace and the curio closet. Maybe by June??? we will have a real bed upon which to sleep… 

Unbirthday…

Last week we took two days off to celebrate Scott’s very Happy Unbirthday (Scott is my sweet Leap Year Hubby)!

His submarine friends will understand that to celebrate his Unbirthday, we spent two days reading The Trident Deception by Rick Campbell.

The Trident Deception is a five book series, but I told Scott I could only handle that much tension and suspense once a month. He is waiting until the end of this month for book two.

And, this weekend Scott had a winter storm named for him. In this local we received a meager two inches of snow.

Then, he continued working on our crown moulding. This is stage I 

Stage I

and stage II. 

Stage II

Scott is working in stage III today…

Plugging Holes…

Today we expect another 3” to 6” of snow. It is chilly outside, but we are snug on our second floor. The kitchen is still complaining it needs more insulation. At the moment it is just able to maintain a temperature in the upper 40s. 

For the last several days Scott has been whittling and paring down plugs to fill the indentations left from the screw and nail holes. It is a slow tedious job. But, those plugs provide a more finished appearance.

Pounding in plug…
Finished…

Putting up crown moulding, building three cornice boxes for the remaining windows, finishing removing the old paint from the fireplace and varnishing it, and building in the curio insert next to the fireplace left to complete before we move into our master bedroom.

The list, though still long, is shorter…

Columns…

I forgot to mention that I sent the blog announcement out twice last week because three hours, after I sent it over half of you had not received it. I apologize for the double mailing. Hopefully this will not happen again.

Today we are experiencing  Winer Storm Quiana. Though she has caused much devastation in other areas, we have been blessed in the fact that we are receiving bearable winds and over three additional inches of snow.

Window puzzle solved. Only two of the windows were the same size. So it wasn’t just make one… then duplicate. Each window required individual calculating and adjusting of lengths so they looked balanced.

Scott now has the challenging puzzle of which piece of wood goes in what order for the columns, beam, and crown molding ends to look continuous. My Scott is very meticulous. He measures and remeasure’s. He draws, rethinks, and draws again. Then, he studies it some more and measures again. This is not a look at it, slap it up, one day job. He may only add six inches in a whole day when he is adjusting intricate corners. 

Drawings…

But, as far as I am concerned, it is totally worth every moment we wait. The hardest part? Because of my limited vision, Scott takes pictures of what he completes on the iPhone. Then, I wait until iCloud transfers them to the iPad. Not until all these steps have been completed, do I see the amazing work he has done… 

Column and Cornice in progress…
Only touch-up of paint remains…

Healed Cottage…

Remember that huge slab of ice with a sharp point that slid off the upper level roof and crashed into our kitchen roof? The weight of that block of ice, the speed of the fall,  combined with the sharp point of the falling block… drove through our new kitchen roof. 

Original ice block…

Well we had quite a rain storm last week and the tarp did not prevent water from, again, leaking into the kitchen. 

I called Jeremiah and asked him how soon we might be able to fix this challenge. He said. “let’s do it Monday. If it is too cold, I have a torch to heat the tar up to seal the shingles.” (It is 20° and snowing!)

This morning first thing Jeremiah and his crew arrived. The good news is there was no structural damage… just a small section of planks that need to be replaced. There was a lot of water in the ceiling. Because of the tile design, they were filled with water. First, they used the wet vac to suck up most of the water:  then they dried the rest up manually. Insulation was replaced, they laid a new section of plywood and shingles.

Pulling out water and wet insulation…
Checking…
Hole…
Sealing roof…

Jeremiah suggests we purchase a pallet to keep on that area of the roof… just in case… 

If another weird weather system accumulates ice, the pallet would act as a cushion.

So our sweet cottage is healed… we are warm, and dry… 

Window Frames…

One of our Hawai’i friends was disappointed we neglected to mention one of the most beautiful woods of our Islands… Koa wood, whise grains are straight, curly, and figured. My apologies, we love koa wood.

Not sure where I found this pic, but excellent example of Koa…

We had snow off and on all day yesterday and when we awoke this morning, big fluffy flakes the size of butterflies were dropping.

As I began yesterday, before being side-tracked by our love of woods, Scott needs to tackle stripping the windows of their paint and build window frames. Since only one window, in the bedroom, has been replaced,  he needs to address the other windows rattling and wobbling. We really prefer the outside elements remain outside.

Now I realize I reiterate this repeatedly, but Scott has never attempted house construction before our move here. Yes, he framed the windows in the kitchen (with great trepidation, might I add). My hope is that this new adventure will be less stressful.

Scott embarks on this portion of his adventure incrementally… build frames… remove old paint… 

Stripping old paint…

Since he had built frames for the kitchen, he had a better handle on the fundamentals of window frame building and felt more adventurous. The woods are prepped, stained, then sealed before being built.

Sections of frame…

These frames are more detailed, though beautiful,  they will be covered by cornice boxes and curtains… 

One window completed… Holes to be plugged…

Wood…

First, Winter Storm Maya blessed us with a beautifully plush fourteen inch cover of fresh snow yesterday. 

Winter Storm Maya…

Now to our bedroom… next on our list, Scott needs to tackle the windows and build window frames. Only one of the windows in the bedroom has been replaced (due to someone shooting some sort of projectile through it when our cottage stood empty, waiting for us to discover it.) 

The other windows rattle and wobble… oblivious to the outside elements they allow to enter the home. (Horse flies love to crawl through the slits.) And, the layers of paint! Scott and I both LOVE the natural grains of woods. 

Original window…

How anyone covered them… (apologies all of you with painted woodwork). We know, it was and is what many people prefer. But, Scott and I are both lignophiles… lovers of wood… enamored by the feel, unique grains, and patterns…

Speaking of woods… just a bit about why we are so besotted by woods.

 Woods have three basic grains, but many variances. The first of the basic grains is…

Open or Coarse-Grain

Found in Butternut, Pine, Oak (we have large pored red oak for our kitchen floor) and other woods with large pores.)

Our red oak…

Western Red Cedar, Redwood, Cypress, Poplar and Aspen have straight grains

White Oak and Beech are relatively straight

Walnut ranges from straight-grained to patterned

Mahogany is usually straight-grained, but can have blisters, stripes, or mottled patterns. (We had a small section of mahogany in the home where I grew up. It was beautifully mottled.) 

Ash has a wide grain, sometimes with brown streaks.

Closed or Fine-Grain woods have ‘close’ growth rings. 

Alder – fairly straight grain. 

Maple,  Birch, and Rosewood – subtler, straight grain. 

Hickory – straight to patterned

Cherry and Poplar – fine, straight grain. 

And, our standby, pine, has a straight grain, which is the flooring.for the majority of our cottage.

Plus, I must mention Knotty Pine, a lightweight straight grain wood with a fine, even texture with prevalent small tight knots. Daddy and my two brothers put knotty pine on the walls and ceiling of our living room in our home in Memphis. Daddy, ever the quiet jokester, gave me (I was 8 years old) the job of counting all the knots so we could report the number to the government. (There were 2,837 knots) 

Figured

Then, when we choose to be really creative, we could add a special touch by choosing figured woods. They have unusual characteristics not specific to one type of tree, i.e., 

Bird’s-eye wood has spots, or dimples, that resemble eyes. 

Fiddleback wood is the wood used for the backs of violins. It has a series of ripples. 

If fungus invades wood, it creates spalted wood (black streaks running through in various patterns). 

Other figures found in woods are quilt, silver, ribbon, burl, crotch and curly figures. 

Crotch wood is very interesting. It is found where a two large branches or trunks meet… producing swirls and designs in the wood.

Then quickly, let me mention:

Exotic Woods – with unusual grain characteristics. 

Zebrawood – swirling dark lines 

Lacewood, from Australia – resembles hammered copper 

Lacewood

Tigerwood, from South America – dark orange with a striped grain resembling tiger stripes. 

Cocobolo – a deep orange with dramatic black striping. 

Teak – strong and weather resistant

To name a few…

Since I became so carried away explaining why we are so dotty about woods, tomorrow I will continue with our bedroom window frame construction… 

Ceiling…

By this point, we know we want the ceiling for our recessed area to be a continuation of our Divine Wine walls. But, what about the ceiling not in the recessed area? We debate back-and-forth. Should it be a solid neutral color? Should it be coffered? Or, should we splurge on another tin ceiling? 

Tin ceilings are so timeless. And, Scott and I have had such success with them. When we were in Hawaii, we installed silver tin ceilings in living room, kitchen, hallways, and the master bedroom. They made the apartment ceilings feel higher. (Ceilings in our condo were not even eight feet) Low ceilings are not a problem here. Besides, the Victorian era was the heyday of the embellished ceiling and we want this lovely cottage to reflect that heyday. 

Again, we want our bedroom to be intimate, warm, and sexy! (Please don’t roll your eyes. We are old, not dead.)

So… on October 11, 2018, we go to our standby tin company, American Tin. There are so many choices color-wise and pattern-wise. With thirty-nine patterns and fifty-three color choices, our heads are spinning… AGAIN!. 

We have been through this drill three times. We should be old pros. But, new patterns emerge, others disappear; so each time is a new adventure. We do know that for many of our rooms, copper tone ceilings is our go to color. Copper has such a intimate feel. But, again, even within the copper range about half of the color choices are shades of copper.

Finally, we decide on a twenty-four inch baroque cross with a deep, three-dimensional profile. The four quadrants are filled with hammered metal and a diagonal diamond pattern… a favorite for period ceilings. The color? An ARTISAN COPPER WITH BURNT UMBER… one of the more intricate colors. They told us that since it was one of their more complex patterns, it would be about a six week waiting period. Okay… that would be by Thanksgiving. We could wait. Scott installed the firring strips while we waited. 

Firring strips…

Then, a call! Problems with one of their presses… the one needed to press out our pattern. After a two week delay, our ARTISAN COPPER WITH BURNT UMBER arrived and Scott installed it. 


Down the road, we will be installing crown molding to simulate the beautiful curved ceilings of our favorite Victorian era…

Next? Window frames…

Step Backward…

The end of last week we had an unexpected surprise that we would have preferred to not receive.

Please remember…. we had a twenty-two inch snowstorm, a four inch rainstorm, a six inch snowstorm, and freezing weather. Those weather conditions turned normal ‘snow roof’ into something more solid, like ice. Then, that warm weather caused havoc. 

It was early in the morning… about an hour before we were going to start our day.  We heard a huge bang. (Now we’ve been hearing bangs over the last several days because the weather had warmed. The snow on the roof was sliding off in huge chunks. When it slides off, it sounds like a huge truck driving over our heads… making quite a bit of racket.) At this latest bang, I wasn’t too concerned. Though Emmi sounded repeated warnings of ‘danger!’ Scott was suspicious… a quick check revealed nothing. 

Then, Scott went down to our new kitchen. Water was dripping through our beautiful copper ceiling. 

Running upstairs, he said, “We have a problem!”

Turns out a huge slab of ice with a sharp point slid off the upper level roof and crashed into our kitchen roof. The weight of the block of ice, the speed of the fall,  combined with the sharp point of the falling block… drove through our new kitchen roof. 

Came down as solid block…

Scott found a tarp to cover the hole, while I called Jeremiah, our roofing man. After assessing the situation, it was decided the tarp was doing an admirable job. Jeremiah would return to repair the roof, beams, and possibly rafters when the weather improves. (At the moment we are awaiting Winter Storm Maya,expected to drop seven inches of new snow)

Tarp

But, no one was hurt, except our sweet cottage, we are warm, and our cottage is wounded, but dry…