Friday, April 18, 2014

The Big Bad Book Case in the Sun Room

Just like in "The Lion, the Witch and The Wardrobe", where Lucy found a magic wardrobe that took her and her siblings to a symphonic place called Narnia, we have a magic book case in the sun room that will probably take me to a quadraphonic place called the hospital (with a hernia) if I keep on trying to move it myself.

The big bad book case was originally in the living room when we first moved in.  Here's a picture of it with the previous owner's stuff.   The walls aren't flesh colored anymore either.  I wonder if they used to play hide and go seek naked?  Shave, stand up against the wall.  No one would ever find you.

One of the fun things I did prior to moving in was to take that bookcase out as well as his little brother pictured above.  OK, maybe it wasn't that much fun.  They were on either side of the French Doors leading out to the sun room.  You can read all about those exploits here at Refreshing Refurbishment.  I took the big one and "flipped" it to the opposite wall in the sun room, which is behind the LR, unless you were standing in front of it.  Which then, of course, would mean it was behind you.  Or you were behind it.  Boy am I ever getting confused.

The little brother now stands in the garage.  They are very well made book cases, they just didn't belong in the living room.  We have an extra 30 square feet or so in the living room now that the book cases are residing elsewhere.

So the Big Bad Book Case has been hanging out in the Sun Room for the last 3 years.  The Sun Room is essentially a walled in back deck with a lot of windows.  Decking, you know, like you can see the earth below between the slats, the same stuff my lovely wife and her twin sister are standing on below.  That's also the sun room behind them.

I have done a number of improvements to the sun room over the years.  The first one was to make sure all the previous owner's crap was outta there, including all the stuff above.  Then we could move a bunch of our own crap in.  It was used as a storage area for the first year or so, and then, since my lovely wife has a penchant for buying lovely things, like antiques and such, I had to put that Gila Monster film on the windows.  That stuff works great at filtering out all the bad UV light what would cause color fading on all the lovely objects of art.

After that, I started sealing out all the daylight around the windows and all the corners of the room.  As I have mentioned in many previous posts,  the previous homeowner was a piece of work.  Some might even say Dipshit.  Many of the things he did around here are still a mystery to this day.  The room itself was not too bad, though I am certain he downed a twelve pack and a bottle of cough syrup before he began.  A lot of daylight was sneaking in, and when the wind howled, and lot of that howling also penetrated the interior space.  It stayed dry, but it was certainly drafty.  Once caulked and sealed, I figured what the heck, why not toss on some paint before any real flooring came along.

Caulked, sealed and painted, we then threw down a variety of rugs and small carpets to cover the gaps in the deck and continued to utilize the space for storage.

The sun room does get used when we get a house full.  It gets organized and looks about as cool as a room used for storage most of the time can.  It is also used because we do have a TV (and DVD player) in that wonderful little hide-able TV space.  If we get some loud, obnoxious adult banter going on in the living room, or if a SF Giants game is on the grand kids can escape to the sun room and watch movies.

With a little Vornado electric heater churning out some small but affable BTU's, the room warms up quite nicely and quickly in the cooler months. We also had a left over ceiling fan from the refurbishment days, and I installed that in the sun room last summer.  You can read all about them exploits here at The Sun Room Fan.  That certainly helps to cool down the room in summer, as well as bring down all that affable Vornado heat in winter.

As I mentioned, my lovely wife has a penchant for purchasing lovely things.  She's also a fabulous interior decorator, so I never doubt what she's doing and that the outcome will always look awesome.  She has slowly but surely been accumulating lots of lovely things for the sun room.  One of them, a lovely chest needed to store all our lovely Christmas ornaments, also needed to be "chalk" painted, which is one of the newer decorating rages.  I guess.

Want to know how to make your own chalk paint?  I would, that's for sure, if I were to be chalk painting anything again.  Ready made chalk paint is real expensive, like $37 for a quart.  But my lovely wife and I did not know you could make it yourself until I had my teeth cleaned, which was after I had already painted the chest.  With $37 dollar paint.

So I was having a conversation with my dental hygienist the other day, which was hard to do since her fingers were always in my mouth.  So Emily did most of the talking and I mumbled a lot.  I had mumbled something about this blog, and I was currently working on this post (which includes the topic of chalk paint) and wallah, Emily knew exactly what I was mumbling about.  She then mentioned she had made her own chalk paint and that is how this point of discovery was made.

After a little bit of online research, I found the most used recipe/ratio seems to be:
2 cups paint (your choice and color)
5 Tablespoons Plaster of Paris
3 Tablespoons cool water

Here's a couple links if you'd like more detail on the why's and wherefores and reasons of chalk paint:
And here's that chalk painted chest in question (it used to be stained brown):

My lovely wife also found a bird cage in a shop up in Sierraville, CA.  Sierraville is up in the high Sierra, about thirty miles north of Truckee, CA.  We went on a Sunday drive a year or three ago and landed upon this enchanting darling's eccentricities.  An entire story could be told just upon this couple hour long encounter.  To keep it short, a rusted red bird cage was acquired along with a couple other odds, ends and designer weirdness.

So the bird cage sat in the "project" portion of the garage for at least a year, and the project portion of the garage is NEVER without clutter.  There's always something going on in project land.  If nothing else, it's a place for stuff to hang out and scream "Do me do me do me do me" at me.   Now if I were to scream that at anybody other than my lovely wife I'd probably get arrested, but inanimate objects can, apparently, say anything they want to whomever they want whenever they want.  I guess it all depends on who's listening.

As is usually the case, my lovely wife kinda started painting the bird cage.  And then it sat for another month or two semi painted, until I inquired if she would like me to finish the deal.  Amazingly she said yes, and so I painted it all up real nice.  Then, since another new decorating rage seems to be "distress" or "shabby chic", my lovely wife messed it all up.  It took me 4 hours to make the bird cage look nice nice.  It took my lovely wife about 4 minutes to distress it.

Then there's the twin bed.  Fortunately, the metal twin bed frame was already shabbily chic'd and distressed and did not need me to make it look nice so my lovely wife could muss it up again.   With a nice, new twin mattress and comforter with shams, it will serve as a sofa during most of the time, but can also double as a bed if you come and spend the night.

All this activity of course was leading towards completion of the sun room, which was going to involve the floor, the big bad book case and me, the under belly guy.

First of all, my lovely wife bought two rugs measuring 8x12 each, which would be more than enough to fill a room that is 12x15.5.  That took care of the floor.  Then she wanted that big bad book case painted to match the chalk painted chest.  Fortunately we were able to use regular semi gloss paint, because at the time of inception I still hadn't had my teeth cleaned.

As with many home improvement projects, choreography was paramount.  Since each rug would cover half the floor I decided to do one half of the room at a time, starting with the book case half.  I had my son help me move the big bad boy, and then stacked all the rest of the sun room crap on the same side.

First of all, I prepped the last corner of the room.  It was hidden from my first sealing efforts because it was behind the big bad bookcase, and I did not have my son available (nor did I want to obtain a hernia) in order to move the dang thing.

Please forgive the out of focus nature of some of these photos.  Unfortunately during the different phases the camera was accidentally stuck on micro, and I didn't notice until AFTER many items were already completed.  And trust me, I am definitely NOT tearing it all apart just so you can see some in focus shots.  I know, how selfish of me.
I did some touch up painting and also started painting the big bad book case.  I'm a great painter, can cut pretty well and deal with some pretty straight lines.  But I'm also sloppy.  If I can get away with not having to worry where I drip so much the better.  So I dripped a little bit, and then once the touch up painting was completed, I Tyvec'd the floor.

WHAT?  What the heck am I talking about?  Well, at this point in the juncture we're not putting in a main line floor.  Nevertheless, we still want the room as energy efficient as plausible.  To that end I tacked and taped Tyvec, your basic construction house wrap, to the decking before rolling out the carpet.  Again, apologies for the focus.

It was about this time, as the project was rolling along nicely, that my lovely wife informed me that she wanted some razzle dazzle on the big bad book case doors.  It wasn't enough that it was getting a fresh coat and color of paint, she wanted shadow boxes on all the 6 cabinet doors.  Shadow box?  What the heck is a shadow box?  I dunno, I think I just made it up.

So, I removed all 6 of the big bad book case doors and took them to project land in the garage with the unit's shelves and the burgeoning baseboards.  It was all beginning to look like an organized mess out there.  And loud?  A veritable cacophony of inanimate sounds.

In order to make the shadow box doors my lovely wife envisioned, 4 thin 6 foot sticks of fancy fluff were purchased.  Then I did some measuring.  She wanted about a 2-2 1/2 inch edge around the box in the middle.  So I did some figuring and then turned  those 4 thin sticks of fancy fluff into the mess below.  I also painted them all white.

I made all them little sticks with this, my trusty compound miter saw.
By the way, that's my lovely wife's red tool box on the right there.  It has flowers and butterflies and stuff on it to make sure I don't mistake it for mine and go in and mess with her tools. 

Once the sticks were cut and painted, especially on the inside, it was attachment time.  Since the sticks were so small, I decided to forgo any tacks or small nails and just glue them to the doors.  I made some more measurements, twice even, and then proceeded to glue down an "L" on each door.

Once that was dry, the next day I glued down the other "L".  Amazingly enough, all the pieces fit together quite nicely if I do say so myself.  I had to add weight to a couple of the sticks, and as you can see above I clamped another.  But other than a couple errant sticks most all of them laid down really well. 

While all this fun was going on I was continuing my dance in the sun room.  Once the 6 doors were off I found I could sashay the big bad book case without too much discomfort.  Or a hernia.  I managed to get it into its proper place, then got the rest of the junk over to the carpeted side.

Then it was another quick touch up on the walls, Tyvec and carpet in the sun room with a little tight trim on the shadow box doors.
And wallah, the final product:

Chicken Update

It is spring, or it has sprung, and our local feed store just had Chick Days, with everything chick related at 15% off, including chicks!  How could I pass up on a couple more chicks to add to our Rooster's harem?

I've got plenty of room, enough so that I could have a flock of 20 or so without any "crowding" issues.  Right now we have 8 layers, and one cotten picking Rooster.  Last year I tried a go at 4 Guinea Hens, and you can read all about those exploits right here: Massacre at Keet Creek 

Since most hens only lay productively the first 1-4 years of their lives, I want to slowly add to our flock.  I want to add 2-4 new chicks every year for a couple more years until we hit that 20 ceiling.  That way we'll continue to have layers as the older one's production declines.  Then we'll  have to eventually weed out the non-layers, or, more than likely add on to Chicken Fantasia Land.  Since I am sure we won't be able to eat or destroy our non-producing clucky girls.

We currently have 2 Buff Orpingtons, 2 Barred Plymouth Rocks, 2 Black Sex Links (which is a cross between a Rhode Island Red Rooster and a Barred Plymouth Rock hen) and 2 Red Sex Links (which are a cross between a Rhode Island Red Rooster and a White Delaware Hen.)  To this ample booty we are adding a Rhode Island Red Hen, a Speckled Sussex, a Brown Americana and a Golden Sex Link, which is a cross between a Rhode Island Red Rooster and a Rhode Island White Hen.

Fowl are sex linked for several reasons.  First of all, the chicks can be "sexed" just by looking at the color of their feathers, rather than pulling out a telescope and trying to find something in between their little, teeny tiny legs.  Boys are one color, girls are another.  Sweet.  Simple.  The other main reason fowl are sex linked has been to produce relatively superior egg layers.  You know, the master egg laying uber race.

Our little chicks above have been named Jewell, Rosy Posey, Flash and Dash.  Guess who's grandchildren chose those names?  Now if only he could remember which name went with which chick.