RSS

Category Archives: Uncategorized

The Cavalry Has Arrived

It’s been about two months since we finalized the purchase of our project home in Upsala.  Since that time my husband and I have done a lot of small and big projects.  We have been busy building new stairways, removing old stairways and entirely gutting the upstairs down to the studs in preparation for this day.

This is the old stairway that we removed from the center of the home. It was ladder-like in its steepness. We are leaving the door on this end to make a new closet area. The back half of the old stairwell will have drawers in the bottom half and on the top of the drawers will be a place to leave your keys and other miscellaneous items as you enter the back door.

New stairway located on the North wall of home. The photo below shows our plans for the stairway. The basement stairs are directly below the upper stairs. Both the upstairs and basement can be accessed from the garage. We also opened a wall from the kitchen to this new entry way. Improving the overall flow of the house.

We spent a lot of time measuring and mapping out the new location of the stairs before we cut any openings and started building the stairs. We measured and remeasured to make sure we had enough room. Its hard to picture but this old bedroom has become an entryway with stairs to go up or down and out to the garage and out to the backyard. We added another bedroom upstairs to compensate for the loss of one of the two main floor bedrooms.

We gutted the upstairs to get ready for the carpenters to come and add dormers and windows to the second floor. There was very little usable space upstairs due to the low ceiling height and the stairway cutting the space in half due to its location in the center of the home.
The new upstairs will contain a Master Suite complete with walk-in closet, bathroom and office or sitting area at the top of the stairs.

Today our carpenters arrived to start putting our dreams for the property into reality.  Yesterday we finalized the color choices and the floor plans.

I love watching the trucks arrive, unloading  the lumber and the smell of freshly cut wood.  I had a hard time concentrating at work today know that things were happening just up the hill but not within my sight.  At lunchtime we joined the carpenters on the front lawn for  lunch.  They all sat in their lawn chairs with their coolers sitting in front of them and we with our sandwiches and coffee from the convenience store in town.  It was a wonderful place to eat lunch today admiring the work that they had accomplished this morning.

It might not look like much of a change so far but here it is.  They changed the roof line on the garage and framed for the new part of the roof with the car port.  I’m excited to see the roof on the house opened up next week and see all the new roof lines, windows and shingles upstairs.  The new upstairs will have much more room and light than before we started as well as additional bathroom in the home.

The plan with the garage was to change the present lean to style attached garage to a hip roof.  The garage door opening in the background will be moved one stud space to the left and the windows to the top panel and grids placed in the glass.  We are working on plans to make the garage door look more like a set of carriage doors rather than a conventional door.

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

A New Vocabulary

One of the main projects besides replacing the roof is moving the stairways to a better location. It is currently in the center of the house and has very steep, narrow steps.

For the past week or two as we refine our plans for the house a new vocabulary has crept into my life. It revolves around the building of stairs.

Who would have thought that there could be so many words that had to do with stairs. There are the usual words like treads or steps.  That I understood, but add stringers, risers, winders, walk line, rise and run, landings, and that is just the beginning. Add to the list newel post, rails, balusters, bullnose, etc.

Tonight we spent our usual evening with our grandson while our daughter attends a college night class. Tonight’s entertainment was the home improvement center where we picked out the supplies we will need to start building the new stairs in the house this week.

Our grandson learned the fine art of picking out the best wood for the project and eagerly helped load it onto the cart. It was a late evening but well worth getting what we needed so we can get right to work on Thursday.

 

Tags: , , , , , ,

What Would You Choose?

This week is decision time. As you can tell this house needs some help. We will be replacing the shingles, soffit, and fascia. The entire home will be repainted and we will wrap the cement chimney to give it more character.

When I first looked at this home I knew I wanted to do something different with the colors. The starkness of the white with the cedar color is just not very inviting especially when you see the white on the garage as well.

My first choice would be a medium gray with white trim and a black roof. To me it says neat and maybe a little stately. The problem with this choice is that the home just to the left is painted exactly this way. You can see just a bit of it in the photo above.

My second choice would be something green tones with cream trim and dark roof. The only problem with the greens are on either side of the home two doors down in either direction are green homes, different greens. Adding a third green to the mix might just be too much.

My third choice is maintaining the front color of the house and painting the rest of it to match the front color with almond accents and a black roof. It would tie all of the house together and we wouldn’t have to worry about the fascia or soffit fading over time if it were painted almond. I think is would still have a stately look to it.

So many of the homes on Main Street are painted white, light gray or almond that I want to stay away from those colors. There are also two different blue homes in the near vicinity so I don’t think blues are in the running either.

So many choices… so little time. Am I putting way too much thought in to this? We need to pick out colors this week. Open for suggestions.

 

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Fools Rush In…

This afternoon after working our “day jobs” my husband and I headed to 309 S. Main Street to continue our work that we must get done before the carpenters come to work on installing the dormer and replacing the roof, etc.

We made a lot of progress in the three short hours we worked. Dean worked on cutting the hole for the new stairway from the second floor down to the first floor.

We started with a clean home…….

At the end of our three hours he had the hole cut for the new stair location. I love when a plan comes together and no one gets hurt.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I spent the afternoon removing sheet rock and insulation in the other half of the upstairs. The goal is to have the upstairs gutted to the studs and ready for the carpenters as soon as possible.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My favorite part of the afternoon was finding a picture of Queen Elizabeth tacked inside the roof rafters. I would love to know the story behind the picture.

 

 

Tags: , , , , , , ,

309 Chronicles

 

Image

 

Life is an adventure. This our latest. 

We purchased this home on March 20, 2012. Our intention is to fix it up and rent it or sell it. 

As you can see it needs some help. We hope that what we do with it will improve its curb appeal, square footage and the overall flow of the interior.

The great part about this home is the fact that even though it was built in 1947 it was well kept and CLEAN!

 

This past week we have met with the carpenters about replacing the roof, adding a dormer, and changing the roof line on the garage. Everywhere we go we look at homes as we drive by trying to get an idea for a color scheme for the exterior. We are narrowing it down.

This week on Wednesday evening while Dean was at a school board meeting I began demo on the upstairs. We are taking it down to the rafters and studs upstairs. I removed 1960 style paneling from the walls and the insulation. Itchy, itchy, itchy.  The shower felt great when I got home.

Last evening we continued work upstairs. One of the major improvements we are making is moving the interior stairway to the upstairs. It is presently a widow maker. Very steep, narrow stairs. Dean began pulling up floorboards for the location of the new stairway. 

We’re excited about the project and hope that we don’t end up on one of the home improvement shows like “Over Your Head”.  I will be posting more pictures of our project.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tags: , , , , ,

Not My Ordinary Day Off

Last week my husband and I took a rare day off. We traveled with eight others in our church van to the Science Museum of St Paul.

Our next door neighbors are retired missionaries from Peru. They donated their collection from Aguarana Indians  to the Science Museum and we were invited to go see the private collection.

When we arrived at the museum we spent some time individually to see the exhibits and had lunch at the museum.

At 1:00 we met as a group to go to the collections area of the museum. Our neighbor, Dennis, directed us to the part of the collections where his collection was cataloged and stored in special cabinets at the museum. I didn’t take any photos of the collection because that requires special permission.

I was impressed at the collections that are stored in the museum that will probably never see the light of day to the average person because of the lack of funds and time to display them in the museum.  They are hoping to  post the photographic images of the collections online so people can see what the museum has in its collections department. People are welcome to see the collections if they ask permission and have a guide to show them.

While we were waiting to meet someone for our tour at the museum I looked out the window to the south of the museum and saw this riverboat.

When I was processing this photo I enlarged the sign on the boat to find its name and was surprised to discover that it is a bed and breakfast named the Covington Inn. I think it would be a very interesting place to spend a night or two. I may have to investigate the possibilities.

Another view out the museum window was of these trees. I loved the way it depicted a cheerful winter day. The science museum is about 100 miles south of where I live and it is unusual for there to be snow there but not at home. Right now our yard is nothing but brown grass and barren trees except for the pines.

One of my favorite inside photos was of this sculpture. In the entry of the museum an entire wall is covered with these blue acrylic tiles that look like sails complete with rigging. I loved how the tiles changed colors as the sun hit them. I love sailing and I had no trouble picturing hundreds of tiny sailboats at sea when looking at the sculpture.A  lovely reminder of one of my favorite summer memories.

Our day off ended as many do combining business with pleasure. On our way home they dropped off my husband and I at a transportation lot to pick up two vehicles for our lot. It was not without a bit of trouble. One of the vehicles had a dead battery. We had sent the others on their way home before we discovered the dead battery so we needed to go buy a set of jumper cables to get it started before we could finish our trip home.

Perhaps last Thursday was a glimpse into our retirement years when we will ride in vans or busses in large numbers to a designated destination. We were the two youngest in the group. The oldest was an 80 something retired teacher. I hope that when I am her age I will be interested in going to new places and seeing new things.

Every day you learn something new is a good day!

 
11 Comments

Posted by on December 12, 2011 in Photography, Uncategorized, Vacations

 

Tags: , , , ,

A Single Drop

A single drop captivated my attention this week. As I walked out the door to go to work I noticed that it had sprinkled leaving everything damp. I went back inside and grabbed my camera for a few photos before work, well about 30 minutes worth to be honest. I went to work later than planned.

I walked out into the field just south of our home and saw drops of water hanging on a few branches. The morning was overcast from the rain but the sun kept trying to peek through the clouds never quite making a full appearance but creating some interesting views.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As I was heading back inside I loved the way the sun was hitting the butterfly plant pods. It is from the same family as the Milkweed plant. All the is left of it is the shell. All the seeds have flown away in the fall winds.

Have a great weekend!

 
24 Comments

Posted by on November 18, 2011 in Fall, Nature, Photography, Uncategorized

 

Tags: , , ,

Leave Me Out of the Obituaries and Facebook

For the past week my morning routine has been disrupted. I usually wake up to an alarm at 6:00 am each morning. It’s not a pleasant sounding alarm but it gets me out of bed.

Last week when Daylight Savings Time ended I somehow changed my alarm settings on my radio and I now wake up to a local radio station. It’s a change but I’m not sure for the better.

Each morning this past week when I woke up to the radio station it has been a depressing way to start the day. At 6:00 am on this particular station they read the obituary notices for the deaths that occurred since yesterday and the upcoming funeral arrangements in our area.

I suppose I’m looking at this all wrong. I shouldn’t be depressed because I am here living on this earth another day. Starting the day with the obituaries just isn’t the way I would choose to begin my day. Maybe tonight before I crawl into bed I will remember to reset my clock to wake to the alarm instead of the radio.

As I lay in bed listening to the obituaries being read I keep a mental tally of the ages of all those who have died and quickly average the ages by the number of those who have died. I breathe a brief sigh of relief as I calculate that I am younger than the average age of all those who have died recently. There is always hope for a few more good years, that should be a positive thought but there is a negative thought lurking in the back of my mind at the same time.

After I process the average ages in my mind contented briefly I then move on to my next train of thought which is how many years do I have until I reach the average age? There are not nearly enough years between now and then to carry out all that I had hoped to before I die.

Some people choose to read the obituaries in the paper each day and others discuss them over lunch at work. In our small town we used to know when someone died without reading the obituaries by just driving past the funeral home. If the outside light was on then someone had died and the conversations would start with “Who died?” or “Who is in the funeral home?” or “I saw so and so’s car at the funeral home so it must be someone related to them”.

Most families around here now opt to have the wake at the church instead of the funeral home the evening before the funeral so then the conversation switches to “What’s going on at the church?”, “I wonder if someone died?” I live in a small town of 400 so a death in the community is usually someone I know, some more than others. Hearing about the death of a family member or friend over the radio seems so impersonal.

I’d love to leave instructions for my funeral that my death not be announced over the radio like the local sports scores from the night before but passed by word of mouth among friends and family and definitely not as a Facebook status. Status:Dead …. How cold!

 
 

Tags: , , , , ,

A Little Frosted

This morning as I left for the work the sun was shining and the air was cool and crisp. It was the coldest night we’ve had so far this fall with temperatures dropping to 18 degrees but somehow it was okay with the sunshine.

With daylight savings time ending over the weekend in Minnesota we are now blessed with a little more light in the morning but less light in the evening.

I love how the frost coats everything on the cool fall mornings. The sun shining from the east makes everything sparkle as it’s rays hit the frost. Magical…

Even ordinary grasses in the field look elegant.

 
22 Comments

Posted by on November 9, 2011 in Fall, Nature, Photography, Uncategorized

 

Tags: , , ,

Clinging

It’s been a while since I’ve posted.I’ve enjoyed reading all my favorite blogs each day even though I haven’t had much time for commenting or new posts.

I’ve been busy with getting ready for winter in Minnesota. We’ve been raking leaves, putting away lawn furniture. taking out the boat and boat lift from the lake and winterizing all of our toys against the cold Minnesota winter.

Yesterday when I was mulching leaves with the lawnmower so I wouldn’t have to rake and pick up any more leaves I noticed this apple. It was the lone apple left on my tree. It was too high to pick from the ground, too high for the deer to munch from the ground and it had stubbornly clung to the branch on the tree after all the leaves had flown away in the cold winds.

I am very much like this apple in the fall. I try to hang on to anything and everything that reminds me of the summer and the fall that I love so much not wanting to give into winter. There is always the hope that there will be just one more nice day for a motorcycle ride or a ride in the car with the top down. The chances are not that great for most of my favorite activities. There is snow forecast for tomorrow evening in our area.

Today I filled my bird feeders with sunflower seeds not wanting my feathered friends to have to search beneath snow for their meals. They give so much entertainment during the long winters that I enjoy enticing them with the choicest seeds. Only their favorites.

The hardest part of this season for me is the darkness. I get up and go to work when it is dark and it is dark when I return to my home. My favorite part of my day is when I can take a long enough lunch time to drive the four miles home and see my surroundings while it is still light. I don’t think that I would mind the cold as much if only it weren’t so dark so much of the time.

Each winter I try to find some new interest to learn about or a new hobby to take up some of the long winter evenings instead of just watching television. I am open to any suggestions for favorite books others have read or new hobbies you are exploring. Last winter I spent learning about my new camera and the Photoshop program. The winter really did seem to go faster and I actually learned something worthwhile by the end of it.

I would love to know what some of you do to pass the winter days and evenings.

 

Tags: , , , , , ,