>> Monday, July 18, 2011
....I'll know whom to blame. I spent several 10-hour days helping my brother and his girlfriend work on their new-to-them fixer-upper. It's a classic DC rowhouse that needs, um, work. More work than anticipated, I think. It has, as they say, "good bones," and I think it will be quite lovely one day. In the meantime, the goal is to get it liveable -- and I am quite invested in this goal as I'm supposed to live there.
This experience has renewed my appreciation for the hard work of demolition, construction, remodeling, and renovation. It's no wonder it costs so much, when such efforts require things like pulling staples out of formerly-carpet-covered floors. Luckily the hardwoods underneath the carpet are in great condition. The two rooms sanded yesterday look fantastic and will look even better when stained. But staple-removal in 3 rooms and a staircase took 2 people 10+ hours.
So a few thoughts from this weekend's work:
1. Never ever carpet over good hardwood. Sand and stain the hardwood, and relish it.
2. Do not paint over textured wallpaper (or any wallpaper for that matter).
3. Do not plaster and paint over wallpaper (seriously, strip the wallpaper when it's fairly straightforward and then plaster and paint).
4. Four layers of bathroom tile are too many. Rip out the old and replace the new before creating an absurd tile-monster bathroom floor.
5. Some people are willing to live -- and eat out of -- disgusting kitchens. Seriously, who doesn't clean up the mouse droppings? Or allows layers upon layers of grease in the oven? But when you encounter such grease, Easy-Off* is your best friend. It's probably full of terrible chemicals, but it is a fabulous cleaner. I really should have photographed this marvel. The oven is now a usable appliance once again.
6. Bleach and white vinegar are truly amazing cleaning products.
I have to confess that I'm still a little tired and sore from the weekend. And my sewing machine sat idle as I squatted and pulled staples, hacked at old wallpaper, and ferociously cleaned a kitchen. There are a few little projects I'd like to wrap up over the next couple of weeks, but the state of the fixer-upper may determine how much gets done...
But when I get back to sewing, I'll have something new to play with. I checked my email this morning to find that I've won some Aurifil thread and a color card from Lynne's giveaway. I've heard that this thread is silky to work with, especially because it produces very little lint. I'm excited to test it out and perhaps find myself a new kind of thread to use. It also looks like the 5-pack includes a multi-color thread spool and I think that will be especially fun to use on a quilt top.
*I have not been paid to endorse this product. My mom and I plucked it off the shelf because it claimed to be fume-free (true!) and it turned out to also be a miracle-worker. I thought it would take about 8 passes to find the original metal in the oven. It only took one.