Monday, May 28, 2012


We started laying the floors!  No pics of the's basically just brush on a 1:1 water and vinegar mix and let it dry.  Then brush on a 1:1 linseed and turpentine mix, let dry for at least a day.  Then brush on a layer of polyurethane.  This is how far we got on one box of 100 cut nails.

A closeup of the floors:

These are the nails we are using:

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Working on the new floor

No photos yet, but here's where we're at:

I have found a few "recipes" for wood conditioner to try on the VERY dry sheathing that is destined to be our living room floor.  What I decided on after a few experiments is our own version!

First, we tried a 1:1 mix of boiled linseed oil and turpentine.  Not bad.

Next, I tried a 1:1:1 mix of linseed, turpentine and white vinegar.  This was applied to some crates we used in our landscape as a test since it looked rather like Italian dressing.  It didn't work as well and obviously didn't really mix.  The point of the vinegar was to kill bad stuff like mildew.

Last, I tried brushing a watered down vinegar mix on the wood, allowing it to dry, then brushing on a 1:1 linseed and tup mix.  This is what we will be using, followed by a light coat of gloss poly as an extra protectant since the living room has the two sliding doors and is the entrance/exit for our rather large dog.  We figured water was bound to be tracked in and out, as well as mud in the spring. 

We will be using a liquid nails/wood adhesive and cut nails to install the floor.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Norge vs Kenmore so far

We didn't think to check out per day electric usage with the Kenmore, so I will have to report back after a month so we can compare bills.  It won't be exact because we haven't used the blower on our wood stove recently, but it will give a reasonble idea anyway.

What I can report however, is the Norge is SO much quieter when running!  Unless it is completely silent in the Cottage, I have to stand right next to it and focus to see if the compressor is on or not.  Even when there is no noise, you need to be in the kitchen to hear it.  Not so with the Kenmore.  Our fridge we had at our other house was equally noisy, so I can't say it's a Kenmore issue, more of a new vs old issue.  I think the newer models are just louder when operating.  The only "exception" is we haven't perfected the placement of the drip pan and it rattles occasionally on the Norge.  Obviously we don't plan on moving it around (except when we replace the floor) so once we have that down, it won't be an issue.

Speaking of the floor, we think we have found flooring for the kitchen now.  If you look at the photos in my previous post, you'll see a faux brick linoleum in the last one (of the Norge and Bengal).  It was our inspiration-when we bought the Cottage, there was another layer of peel and stick faux wood over top of it-except for under the stove, where you could jsut see a bit of the faux brick.  The faux brick lino is in rough shape, so we decided why not replace it with the real thing?  We have to get more "fill in" bricks, but we came across a selection of old cobblestones (they look like bricks) and will be installing them in a running subway tile pattern.  It should help keep things cooler in the summer too, since they should transfer the coolness of the concrete slab below.  We just need to locate some more old clay bricks now!

Sunday, May 20, 2012

The Kitchenaid is clean and the Norge is in!

All clean!

The Norge and the Kenmore it replaced:

And it took a little work, but here is the Norge and the Bengal in the same shot:

Thursday, May 17, 2012

A new fridge

We just picked up a new old fridge tonight!  It's a later 1950's era Norge Customatic.  We do need to do a little repair work, which we discovered after hefting it into the Cottage.  The shelves are sliders, and both of the back pieces that the shelves attach to on the left side are broken :(

But it is very cool-check out the handles!

Saturday, May 12, 2012

The Kitchenaid and the floors

A few new developments here at the Cottage!

First, I'm still working on cleaning up the Kitchenaid.  It's really kinda icky.  I can't blame the previous owners, I don't think I've ever thought about flour dust and such getting into things while mixing.  But it does!  I'll post pics of how to get a 4C apart after I get ours cleaned up in case you have one and think it might benefit from a good cleaning.

First we took the chrome part off of the top, then the cover over the back where the cord plugs in.  This is what we found:

This is the front where the PTO (where the attachments attach) is:

And this is the gook that fell out onto the counter:

And that is as far as I got with it.

Because we picked up a lot of salvaged wood I found on Craigslist.  It was a garage.  And now the 2x4's will probably turn into a wood shed, I'll use the clapboard on another shed, and the sheathing...ah, the sheathing.  The best part.  It will probably be our new floor in the living room!

Here is what we got:

And a closer was tarped and sat covered for a few years...and got kind of mildewed and yucky:

So I spent some time with a power washer while Mr Eclectic split more of the wood mountain, then laid it out to dry:

And of course now they are saying it might rain tonight, when it wasn't supposed of as of this am!  So we had to bring it all in...and of course, since it was in anyway, we decided to see how it looked:

The flash doesn't show it as well as it does in person, but the icky growing mildew stuff left some interesting patters, and the aging of it makes it basically look like the all too popular (of course because *I* wanted it) barn wood.  Barnwood would be thicker, but otherwise, this is pretty much the same.

We'll probably run a sander over it to touch it up, and then finish it with an oil, like tung or linseed (or a mix of the two).

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Why is the Kitchenaid is still dirty?!

We've had some nice weather lately, so I decided it would be a good time to catch up on what I'll politely refer to as "deferred maintainance" on the Cottage.  The window frames were missing most of the paint, and the wood had been exposed to the elements so long it was weathered gray.  It may be all the rage in barn siding for repurposed flooring and furniture, but it is NOT all the rage for window frames!!

This is what I started with:

I scraped off what was left of the flaking paint and dried out caulking.  Then I recaulked, filled what needed to be filled with wood putty and let it all dry.

Then I applied two fresh coats of white paint from True Value (it's even made in the USA!!).

Here is the finished product:

It's NOT perfect by any means, but it's much better at keeping the weather out.  Just ignore the spider webs and sand flies in the pictures please.  The white spot in the first photo above was someone's patch job for a hole in the siding.  We have a lot of those to fix.

So I still haven't gotten to the mixer yet, but at least most of the windows are no longer faded grey with useless caulking!

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Pine cones

This really doesn't have anything to do with pine cones, except one little part.

This is the story of the house that just wouldn't be bought.  Well, at least by us.  It's the story of endless frustration and dead ends.  And of how we ended up with the Cottage when we were trying to buy a farm.

Way back when, we were driving along and saw this little house with REALLY tall grass.  And Mr Eclectic thought it might be for sale.  And it was.  I told him so-and that they were asking an outragous amount for it.  But, he still wanted to look, so we called our agent and got a showing.

It had been empty for about a year or two by that point.  No one was taking care of it or the lawn.  But it had potential, and acreage.  And barns (I LOVE barns).  It needed a roof, had a hole in the floor, and a mildew/mold smell and we would need to pony up the money to cover the cost of replacing the septic if it didn't pass the county test.

We couldn't afford the asking price, so we kept an eye on it for price drops.  Instead, it fell off the market.  We noticed it in pre-foreclosure.  We went to the county and did some research.  It had liens from the IRS, the state, the bank and several other places on it.  We also found the owner's name and address in the court documents, so we wrote a letter.

She called us a few weeks after with a pretty sad story.  It was her husband's house, he built it, on family land (it had been "carved out" of a larger piece).  She hadn't known about all the liens.  They was married a few months when he passed away suddenly, leaving her a mountain of debt-she had no choice but to abandon the house she couldn't pay for.  But she would sell it to us for the amount of the morgage.

Ok, so we tried contacting Bank Of America.  What a joke.  I can name one bank I will NEVER, EVER get a loan, bank account, credit card, etc from.  They wouldn't talk to her because her name hadn't been added to the mortgage (remember, they were only married a few months prior to his death).  They wouldn't talk to our agent.  It was a giant run around.

It went into tax foreclosure, but the bank paid on the last day and redeemed.

We tried again with the bank, still no go (by this point, they paid more in taxes than the mortgage was worth). 

It went into tax foreclosure again jsut recently.  And now another lien holder is showing an auction coming up on it.  And there's a squatter living there.

Now, that's the really condensed version.  Here's the bit about the pine cone:

When we were looking at the place at some point, Mr Eclectic picked up a small scotch pine cone from the property and handed it to me.  I kept it to remind me to keep the faith, that some day we would be able to buy our "dream house".  The pine cone is now at the Cottage.  Funny how things work sometimes.