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Showing posts from October, 2010

Do you have one of these?

Silly question, I know. Or maybe not.

This is what the electrician found where a junction box should be in the ceiling of the Harry Fenn's former studio. I am using this language to evoke the age of the item, since the electrician said it was probably as old as the House. Personally, I don't believe they had electricity back then.

Putting that argument aside, the lone fact that this is the third electrician that looked at it, and was the only one brave enough to take it down, is telling enough. The old "junction box" is going into a drawer of "really old stuff we found lying around." Hopefully, it is the last of its kind in this House.

This begs a question: should I look more closely into the hole in the floor in my daughter's bedroom? What would I find there?

A visit from the Montclair Fire Department

To coincide with the Fire Department's visit to the area preschools, we decided to afford the neighbors a show of our own.

Now, I am certain that everyone with visiting parents has a story of their own about mom deep frying something or other, and a surprise visit by the fire department. I mean, my friends take out batteries and put their central systems off line during these times. Luckily, my mom doesn't deep fry. But, she does roast her own coffee. And this particular morning, she decided she needed to make a new batch. See, roasting coffee is not a difficult task, if one has a timed roaster. But, if you are doing it in a gas oven, on a cookie sheet, with a toddler running around, it get complicated.

It was about 9 am. I just dropped off my son at school, and decided to stop at Belgiovine for some of their amazing fresh pasta. I felt like treating myself with the good stuff. Just as I was exiting the store, I saw a fire truck speeding up the Bloomfield Avenue, sirens and ligh…

Finally done!

Cool, right?!

Let me know what you think, but it has to said - it has significantly improved the curb appeal of the House.

Just take a look the next time you drive by the House. It just makes the front porch, and really the entire House, somehow "pop".

Now, imagine me sticking my tongue out to all the naysayers.

We decided, as a household, that the next project has to be the chimney. Please feel free to forward any mason recommendations.

The Wall - Again!

You remember the wall on the front porch, right? If not, you can read about it here and here.

As you know, we went from snow to Summer this year, and with temperatures being so high, the chemicals wouldn't work properly. Therefore, I shelved the project until the weather improved.

With October being so magnificent, and having extra helping hands, we dragged the chemicals and the ladder and the other supplies back onto the front porch. This time, on the advice of many experts, I got Peel Away and the accompanying tools. Also, having learned from experience, this time I only applied the chemicals to a small small section of the wall.

It started pretty much the same way as the last time. I thought giving it time would help, but it didn't. Now that we exhausted all the venues, I started calling around the handymen on my list to see if anyone would sandblast the damn thing. Nobody dared.

And then, a breakthrough: my dad accidentally hit the wall with a hammer and the paint started comi…

A Family Tradition

People always ask me how it is that I came to make children's bedding for a living. Well, it's a family tradition. My grandmother was a seamstress. My mother was sewing something her entire life. I also had an uncle who was a tailor. It kinda adds up.

So, when I saw this old Singer, dating back to 1927, all beat up and painted blue in an old kiosk in Brooklyn, I decided to bring it to New Jersey and give it a new home. It has been sitting in our garage for a few weeks, when my dad noticed and and decided he'll take a look and see what can be done.

Well, 4 days, a lot of elbow grease, a little wood veneer, stain, and tung oil later, this is what we have.

It is a stunningly beautiful piece, and the machine has all the parts. It works! Amazing!

Insulation is thy name

After having too many "energy consultants" tell us there is nothing they can do for us, unless we tear down the walls and the ceilings, we decided to take on the small stuff. In minuscule bites.

And here are our tools:

I visited the Home Depot yesterday and loaded up on insulating materials. I got weatherstripping, thermal curtains, outlet sealers, as well as draft stoppers. Everything was installed in under 2 hours. Let's see if it makes a difference.

The visitors

And speaking of mothers... My parents decided to visit for a few weeks, so to make sure they are not bored while here, we put them to work. Actually, they seem to find things to do. Or fall over them.

Apparently, the bird bath was in a wrong place, so my dad decided to move it.

Frankly, this seems to be a very good place for it. They were also very annoyed by the mums that kept falling over every time the wind blew, so they planted them into the ground.

We decided to let them stay a few more weeks. We need help with the Halloween decorations.

Small stuff

It's amazing how maintenance and decorating projects get lost in the mix, when one, or the household, has other things to worry about.

Our firstborn has officially started preschool, and I have been consumed with making sure he is well adjusted and will not hate me 10 years from now. I am told I am wasting my time. Apparently, it's inevitable I will be proclaimed the worst mother in the Universe less than a dozen years from now. It appears to be a right of passage. But, I digress.

Since the weather hasn't been particularly cooperative these days, we decided to take the cover off of the Living Room radiator and attack the paint removal and a possible restoration. We figured with the cover gone, it will be a bit more comfortable than last winter. Hm, why is it that every project in this House starts with paint removal? Seriously?!?

We thought it will not be too difficult, considering that the paint was already peeling in many places. And we were not wrong. But, we weren't r…