Arts and Crafts, with Glue

Suna used white glue to crackle paint her desk made of old doors.

For my new desk, I wanted a rustic look to go with the rest of the office. Yesterday I showed you how I painted the doors that will be part of the desk a very bright red. To remind you, it’s this color:

I used leftover paint to revitalize this concrete cardinal.

Today the fun began. I made crackle paint and did the doors. How? First, you splatter white craft glue all over and then brush it on, leaving thick and thin parts.

Doesn’t that look festive?

You let the glue just start to dry, then slop your top color on. In this case, it’s the trim color at the Ross house. You have to go fast and resist the urge to go back over it, or you get this.

Just painted. Looks like a crappy paint job!

Then you wait. As the glue dries, cracks show up. There are little cracks where the glue is thin, and bigger ones where it is thick.

Drying. Cracks have appeared.

The really thick parts take a long time to dry. I may have over-done it on the first door, which still has wet spots as I write this. I’m sure I’ll be able to sand this evening, though.

My desk top, all crackled.

And since I had a little red left over, I painted some trim on the old chicken house. That may protect its paint a little. And it looks more rustic now!

Red matches the ranch theme!

Now I’m painting other things. That’s for the next blog!

Is It a Bathtub Beauty Yet?

Today has mostly been about doors and stairs. All the doors are now stained and hung, which is a significant milestone!

The rest of today, Chris has been covering nail holes, sanding, and otherwise preparing the stairs for being stained. That will be another huge milestone.

Stair preparation is well underway.

But yes, I did get CLR, which is a product to remove lime stains, rust, and such, this morning. I ran out between phone calls to see if it would work. I was not as happy with it as I hoped to be. It’s definitely not a miracle product, and appears that it will need to be used repeatedly with the scrubber. I can’t use a metal scraper, because I don’t want to damage the tub. Sigh. It’s getting there.

It sure felt good to scrub hard, though. Renovation is very good for the frustrated.

Putting in Sweat Equity

While it’s true that the Mighty Chris is doing most of the work on the Pope Residence renovation, I’m helping when I can. Today I volunteered to work on the big fireplace in the main office.

But wait, I got a picture of the garlic teapot I bought yesterday. I think it’s so precious.

Where was I? We wanted to see what color the tiles on it really are, because there’s one missing, and we want to find a compatible replacement. It became clear that there was a lot of work to do when we tried to get one tile clean.

Before. You can really tell which tile has been cleaned as a test. And you can see the spilled stuff near the paper towel. Also, there is a lot of ancient ash in the fireplace.

Also, some of the sealant for the brick had gotten dripped on the hearth tiles, and we wanted to try to get that taken off, if possible. I showed up prepared to sweat, and that I did!

Close-up of the tile before. Lots of streaks and drips, and ick, what’s in the fireplace?

I used a whole LOT of degreasing and grime remover products, combined with steel wool and a scraper to get what appeared to be many decades of smoke, nicotine, and whatever else…who knows?

In progress The drips are from the degreaser. Yuck.

The hardest part was the sealant. Some of it wanted to STAY, darn it! But I persevered, because once I start cleaning something, I have to see it done!

Close up of cleaned tiles and cleaned-out fireplace.

The results pleased me very much, even though it’s still obviously a very old fireplace that got a lot of use. I think maybe the tiles were handmade, like all the brick, because they vary in color in a really pleasant way. I’m glad I didn’t ruin them with all my chemicals!

Nothing is going to get that black stuff up, but I did get all the drips, and discovered some tiles that had been replaced.


The other work on the house is going along just great, though there have been some hiccups with installing the sliding barn doors. Chris had a lot of adventures with epoxy yesterday, but I like the way he just takes these things as a learning experience, thinks about it, and comes up with another plan. He really has a lot of fun figuring stuff out, and it’s contagious.

Barn door that will not fall down.

Chris has all the doors hung, and is now staining them two at a time. The door hardware will look so good.

And oh yes, I’m helping more. My other big contribution was putting some birds on my little bathroom birdhouse. That’s sweet!

Two little birdies in their duplex, hiding a water pipe.

What Are the Other Two Up To?

This woodpecker mocked us as we tried to get in the Ross house today to make renovation estimates.

Our spouses are busy planning and scheming on our next projects, which may or may not involve moving a house to a vacant lot we will own as soon as the title company wakes up and lets us close on it and the Ross house. And they are growing the Hearts Homes and Hands business, even in these hard times. I’m proud of what good business people Lee and Kathleen are!

There’s lots more to come, so stay tuned. I hope you’re having a reasonable weekend and finding some projects to keep you busy! And if you’re putting sweat equity into a project, I hope you get a nice relaxing bath or shower later. That’s my plan. With roses.

What’s an Office without Doors?

An Open Office

Like my corporate office in Austin that I haven’t seen since early March. And I do not like those one bit. That’s why I was extra happy to see that there were some new office doors hung in the Pope house when I got back to town today. I realize now they are the same style as the ones at Bobcat, my Austin House, only in knotty pine.

The door on the right is the one Chris had to cut down, because the opening is only 7 feet.

They are going to get stained to match the barn doors, to add a bit of contrast to all the white trim. The black hardware looks very nice.

The door to Lee’s office, with the barn door that separates his and Kathleen’s offices behind it. The doors will match.

Chris also got one of the barn doors partially hung, and is working on the other one. It’s no easy feat to get a big, heavy door securely affixed to a brick wall, so there’s lots of prep work and such. Once everything is ready, Chris will crack open the tube of super-duper epoxy that mixes itself in the nozzle and quickly use it to firmly attach all the support bolts and such. It only takes 45 minutes to dry, so you have to glue while the gluing is good, apparently.

You can see above the bathroom door the large bolts that will hold the barn door up. The door is at right.

Other things that are getting attached are the mantel pieces in the front office and my office. We don’t want them falling down, either. I’m getting excited about the area that will surround my faux woodstove in my office. Ooh, it will be a surprise.

New piece of wood to support the hearth. Still bummed that one brick is missing.

The Main Bathroom Shines

All of the furnishings are now in the main bathroom, though none of the plumbing is hooked up. The new shelving unit looks really nice, and the rustic vanity goes well with the lighting. You can actually tell it’s a bathroom now.

While losing a day of work going to Temple to get supplies and help stranded elderly people on the side of the road, Chris picked up the feet for our cast iron bathtub. That practically gave him a hernia, because WHOA these things are WAY bigger than they looked in their picture! They are huge!

I think it weighs 10 pounds. I know it’s 9 inches long. That is one BIG clawfoot.

Everyone thought surely I’d exchange them, but I figure they “make a statement” and we will use them. Most certainly they will hold up the tub, as long as the combined weight of legs and tub don’t collapse the floor! The installation guide just says it’s “extremely heavy.”

This has taken a while, but to me, it’s gone pretty quickly, considering that it’s mostly been done by one person!

Cabinets and Doors at Pope House

And of course, another birdhouse

Things are still happening at the Pope house renovation. Chris has decided to get moving with doors, so today he cut down the door that has to be extra-short in the main bathroom. He’ll stain that next.

The door has had equal amounts cut off the top and bottom.

He already stained both the barn doors, one of which goes in my office bathroom and the other that goes between Lee’s and Kathleen’s offices. That’s the same color the stairs will be, too. Sanding is coming soon!

The two barn doors are in front, and the pieces to the utility closet are in back.

Another project that is near completion is the broom and storage closet for the main bathroom. It’s custom built, and can be moved for access to the water heater enclosure. I suggested the idea of two doors on the front, so that the doors won’t hit the vanity when open. Chris and Lee will pick up the door handle and hinges tomorrow on the Lowe’s run.

The shelf will go next to this well disguised heater, all trimmed out and such. The front panel unscrews.

Also during that trip, he’ll get the feet to the bathtub. He got started on that project by smoothing the area where the porcelain had been chipped off. It’s on its way to being a shiny bathroom showpiece!

The gray is bondo-like stuff that will get a porcelain coating. The outside will get sanded and painted.

Fun was had when Chris made the latest birdhouse. It had to be sort of large, so he made it a duplex. It got nice round perches and a little garden. I think an artistic soul is emerging during this project!

ART! He found green paint somewhere…

Next time I’m at the Pope house, I’ll share where it gets installed.

Of course the garden goes all the way around the birdhouse. Can’t wait to stick a bird on it!

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