Tag Archives: Unfinished Projects

The Project

It’s been over two months since I lasted posted on the blog.  Life happens, especially in Minnesota in the summer.  It seems that everyone tries to cram everything into the twelve weeks of summer.  We have been busy with life, work and “The Project”   Throw in a few weddings, birthday parties, reunions and we are already back to shortened days and cooler temperatures much sooner than expected.  My to do list still has too many items left on it.

Below are some before and after pictures from our project.  It has been fun seeing it take shape.  There is still much to do both inside and out.  There have been a few bumps in the road and distractions along the way so progress on our part as been slow.  The carpenters working on the project have been awesome.


I hope to get back to posting more often.  I had to put the camera down for a few months after breaking my collar-bone the end of June after tipping my motorcycle.  It has slowed me down a bit but I am finally back to having some strength back in my right arm.  The good news is my left arm is getting so much stronger since I’ve had to use it instead of the right.

Hope summer is treating all of you well. Jeanne


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Moonlight Al Fresco

This evening I was a bit disappointed that I got back from town so late.  I wanted to take some pictures of the progress at the house.  It was already past sunset.  I decided to stop anyway and try to take a couple of shots because there was a very bright moon tonight.

I found my way in the dark to the door and walked in the dark up the stairs to take this shot.  The upstairs is basically gone except for a short wall on the east and the west and some larger walls left on the north and the south.


If the mosquitoes weren’t so bad this evening I might have considered getting a couple of sleeping bags and sleeping out under the stars tonight.

Here are a couple of shots of the guys removing the rafters today.



Tomorrow should be an exciting day as we see the roof lines starting to take shape.


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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.


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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.


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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.



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No Assembly Required

No Assembly Required

As Christmas Eve approaches I can’t help but think of past Christmas Eves.  As I young child I can remember laying in my bed upstairs on Christmas Eve and hearing my parents busy downstairs.  I never knew what they were up to until Christmas morning but I could hear them until late into the evening.  My Mom and Dad were usually busy assembling something for under the tree or putting on the finishing touches on something they had made.

My Mom and Dad have always made a gift for one of us six kids and worked very late into the night to put on the finishing touches.  After I was grown and had children,  I got a glimpse of what their Christmas Eves were like. 

We spent Christmas eve with my husband’s family in our town and then loaded up our kids usually around 10 pm and drove 2 hours to my Mom and Dad’s home in the Twin Cities.  We would carry our sleeping children into Mom and Dad’s house and put them to bed.

One year when we arrived my Dad was putting the finishing touches on this toy that he made for our son Curt.

The few years later when we arrived at Mom and Dad’s on Christmas Eve Dad was putting the final coat of varnish on this forklift that he made for our second son Matt.

Five years later Dad was painting this on a doll cradle that he made for my daughter Anna.  He checked out books from the library to teach himself how to paint the elaborate design on the cradle.

The most elaborate project that Mom and Dad worked on together was a Barbie doll house for our daughter Christy.  It was a replica of a house that we moved into when I was twelve.  It was a Dutch Colonial and beautiful.  Dad and my brother built the doll house and did all the exterior finishing.  Mom made all the furniture and the interior decorating.  I don’t have a picture tonight because that would require me to go into the attic with help and bring it in to photograph.  I plan on doing an individual post on the doll house at a later date.  I went to bed that evening at 3 am and the three of them were still working on it at that point.

Over the years my husband and I have spent time working various Christmas Eve projects.   One year my husband decided to make a go-cart out of plumbing pipes and fittings.

One year I sewed sweatshirts for all the nieces and nephews made of Disney character fabric.  Another year I made wooden nativity blocks for all the nieces, nephews and our kids.  Eleven sets in all.

For many years my Christmas Eves involved finishing quilts.  I made a baby quilt and presented the parents with a quilt at Christmas if they had a baby born that year.  One year I made a quilt for my brother for Christmas.  Another year I made a quilt for my mother-in-law that year I was still hemming it minutes before we went to their home for Christmas Eve dinner.

The latest Christmas Eve project was about eight years ago when we gave our oldest daughter a drum set for Christmas.  She was in the percussion section in band.  The drum set came in boxes and had to be assembled.  It wasn’t that difficult but there were many pieces.  I couldn’t start bringing in boxes until all of our kids went to bed.  At that time they were night owls.  The boys were in college and the girls were 15 and 13 and had Christmas wrapping to do so it was after 1 am before I could start assembling.  It was almost 3:30 am before I was finished. 

This is the first year I think I will make it to bed at a decent hour.  No homemade gifts this year except a scarf that is almost finished.  Something seems out-of-place, not having a last-minute project.  There is still time to start one to carry on the family tradition….


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The Great Wall in Small Bites: When Exterior becomes Interior

This past week I have been doing some maintenance painting at our business.  “The Great Wall”  I am referring to is one at our business that used to be an exterior wall.  An addition to our business in 1985 changed it from an exterior to an interior wall.  Since it became an interior wall there have been various storage racks added to the wall.  The original wall is stucco and needed some attention.

I decided to paint the wall this week because the mechanic that usually works on the hoist nearest to the wall was scheduled to be on vacation from Friday afternoon until the following Thursday morning.  I  foolishly thought  there will be plenty of time to get the wall painted while he is on vacation.  I gathered my supplies and had the mechanic move his toolbox from the area while he was gone.

I started working on the wall last Saturday morning.  What I didn’t count on was all the other stuff he had piled up along the 20′ wall and hanging on it.  I spent a lot of time on Monday evening taking down racks that used to hold automotive belts.  I was surprised that the racks on the wall were made of wood with metal hangers.  Someone had taken a lot of time making these racks.  The racks were fastened to the wall with cement anchors about every foot or so.  Some came out easy but some not so easy.  The hard part was standing on a 8′ ladder and still working overhead to remove the racks.  I should have used the 10′ ladder for leverage. 

On Wednesday evening I hoped to have completed the project.  I was only about half done and not much energy to finish it.  My husband introduced me to my new favorite tool.  I had been using a cat’s paw or crow bar to remove the remaining nails and racks with brute force which unfortunately I don’t have much of working overhead.  The tool he gave me to use is a heavy-duty cut-off  air tool  that cuts through the nails at the edge of the wall. Then I used caulk to fill in around the holes.  Less damage to the walls than trying to remove the nails and much quicker.  It didn’t do much for my hairstyle wearing a welding shield to protect my eyes.

While I am painting there is ample time to think.  Today I started thinking about how the process making an exterior wall into an interior wall involves using many of the same processes when learning something new.

At first, when I was learning to fly I was overwhelmed by the amount of checklists and items on each checklist.  Much like the size of the “Great Wall” and the number of items to be dealt with before I could actually paint the wall.  Over time the checklists became second nature to me and I varied a couple of items to an order that worked best for me.  There is a difference of opinion in teaching students how to fly whether to have them “Do the checklist, one item at a time” or “do your items on your checklist from memory and then use the checklist to verify that all the items were done.” 

I was from the second camp on checklists.  For example, I would do my pre-flight and then scan the items on the checklist to verify I had completed all the items.  In an emergency situation I wanted to know in my head what I needed to do immediately instead of fumbling through a checklist to figure it out but it is great to have the checklist there for reference.

Painting is second nature to me and I am not intimidated by it,  however, this project provided a few bumps in the road with trying to remove the belt hangers.  I used my usual method of removing obstacles on the walls and patching holes but the cement anchors were more difficult than anything I had ever tried to remove before.  I needed some advice or I felt like I would never finish the project because of the anchors.

In flying when you reach the end of your knowledge on an item you look to the experts, my CFI , others at our flight school.  I spent many hours reading about items I didn’t understand or was having difficulty with like landings. If something wasn’t working for me I looked to him or other pilots.  On the painting project I looked to my husband for his recommendation regarding the anchors.  He provided the necessary tool and the work became easier just like with the advice of my CFI.

At some point in my flying the exterior became interior as well.  I put the information to work for me from all the exterior sources,  made some adaptations that worked for me, and the information was now on the interior for me and put to use  just like the wall.  Next are the floors…


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There’s a Disruption in the Force and We Feel It

Whenever my husband and I try to take a day off of work at some point in the future things start happening.  It’s like someone put a billboard up for everyone to see that we are trying to take a day off.  A few years ago we decided to take a Tuesday off to get some things ready around home for our oldest daughter’s graduation party.

At  8:30 am a truck drove in our yard and a man came to the front door and asked if my husband was home.  I went in the livingroom and got him from his recliner.  He had decided to enjoy his cup of coffee in his pajamas before getting busy on our projects.  I was still in my pj’s as well.  My husband talked to the gentleman about the kind of truck he would like to purchase and sent him on his way.

Back to the recliner and coffee for him and I headed to the shower.  Next our next door neighbor saw our car still in the driveway and came over to ask my husband some automotive repair questions as long as he was home.  He didn’t want to bother him at work.  They sat at the kitchen table drinking coffee and talking cars.  Soon he had his answers and left.

Back to recliner once again and then the phone rang and asked for my husband.  It was one of the guys from the shop and asked if we couldn’t take our air tank over to our other neighbors and air up her flat tire so she could drive it the four miles into town and have it repaired.  It made sense to them that we were closer to her and it would be easier for us to do it.  So I headed over to the neighbors with the tank and sent her on her way after airing up her tire and my husband headed to the shower. 

We managed to get the things accomplished we had intended to after our not so great start.  It got to the point it was getting comical for the amount of interruptions before 9:30 in the morning.

This past week we have been trying to get ready to be gone for a few days next week so we each have our list of things we need and want to have done before we leave.  It has been a never-ending series of phone calls and chuckles from my husband as he announces “You’ll never guess who just called and wants an appointment for this week.”  You would think that somewhere out there they think that if we leave town for a few days we might like it better somewhere else and may decide not to return so they better get their stuff taken care of now.

On the same note however I am amazed at the list I have come up with of things I feel I need to have done before we leave.  There is the closet that has been a mess for the past year really should be cleaned out, the refrigerator needs to be cleaned .  The bathrooms all need to be cleaned just in case someone stops by to use them while we are gone.  Of course, I should get all the windows washed and all the laundry done.    I’ve been driving myself crazy and the rest of the family as I try to tackle my ever-increasing list. 

I would love to leave home with a picture perfect clean home but who am I trying to kid.  It didn’t take a week to get in the condition it is in and it certainly will take more than a week to get everything clean especially with working full-time.  I found myself washing winter coats today that were in that closet mentioned above.  Why??  I don’t know.  They have been just fine in the closet and would have been until this fall when it would be time to dig them out again.  I guess I will be a little ahead of the usual game by having them clean this early but at what price.  At the pace I have been keeping this past week, it will take my entire time off to wind down to relax and then it will be back to work.

I’m looking forward to a few days off.  At least this year when we leave we finally have our will in place just in case something would happen to us on vacation.  It was one of those things on my ever-increasing list to do before vacations.  Up til now we never got our wills done because we couldn’t decide who to put in charge of our four kids if something happened to us.  They are all grown now and can fend for themselves.  It’s nice to have at least one thing off that list.


Posted by on July 26, 2010 in Humor, Vacations


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Finished Up…Finally!

Private Pilot April 17, 2010

April 17, 2010 will be remembered by many people for different reasons.  For me it is the date when I finally achieved a life goal of earning my Private Pilot Certificate.  The journey began almost two years ago when I started learning to fly.  It was my original goal to complete my certificate by January 25, 2010 when I turned 50.  It took me a few months longer but I finally finished this morning.   I got to the airport at 8:00am this morning to meet Bill(my examiner).  I told him I had done my weather briefing already and just needed to preflight the airplane and then we would be set to go.  He reviewed what we would be doing in the airplane once I was ready to go.  I went to preflight the plane that I thought we would be in but Bill said he had changed me to a different plane that I already had the weight and balance completed for yesterday’s flight we didn’t take.

I preflighted the plane and had it fueled.  I asked him if he would like a passenger briefing and he said “No, it wasn’t necessary because he was familiar with the plane already.”  I called ground and said that we were ready to taxi and we were cleared to taxi to runway 31 via Echo and Alpha.  We taxied down to the run-up area near runway 31.  I did the run-up and then taxied to the holdshort line for runway 31.  I called the tower to say I was ready for take-off.  He told me to hold short for landing traffic.   After the other traffic had landed and cleared the runway the tower cleared me for takeoff.  Bill told me that my first takeoff would be a softfield takeoff.  I took off and then we proceeded on my crosscountry course.  I did two ground speed checks and then he set the VOR frequency and asked to me to set up to fly the the VOR he put in the radio.  I tuned it in and turned my course to the south to track to the VOR. 

Next he had me put the hood on and we went through turns, descents, changes in heading and airspeeds.  He had me do 180 degree turn to simulate going into the clouds and getting out of them.  After the hood work he had me set up for slow flight in the dirty configuration and make 90 degree turns left and right.  Next he had me do a power off stall.  After the power off stall I had to do a departure stall.  Once the stalls were completed it was on to steep turns.  He told me before I began that I would make a left steep turn and then immediately roll into a right steep turn.  This made me a little nervous because I never done that before with my instructor without some time in between the two steep turns.  After I was done with the steep turns he pulled the power on me for my emergency landing.  I found my field directly below me and circled down to my altitude to recover at while adding flaps for my descent.  

After completing the manuevers he had me track the VOR back to the airport.  He said coming in that I would do a shortfield landing followed by a shortfield takeoff.  When I turned base to final, I over shot final and did a go around.  I came back around and did a short field landing followed by a shortfield takeoff.  When I came back around to land he said it would be a full stop so I radioed the tower and said so.  We taxied off at A3  and into the ramp and parked the plane.  He congratulated me and said I passed and we would talk about a few things about the flight inside.  I did a final check around the plane, got the Hobbs, tach, and tin for the plane and headed inside.  Once inside we went and debriefed the flight.  He said that I forgot to pull the carb heat in my emergency landing and that I needed to trim the plane more effectively and use more right rudder.  He demonstrated how my foot should be placed on the floor of the plane to most effectively use the rudder.  He said overall a good performance in flight.

After the debriefing we went to the computer and did what we needed to do with IACRA and printed my temporary certificate and he endorsed my logbook for the checkride.  One of the CFI’s took me outside to take my picture by the plane with my certificate.  I was absolutely exhausted when everything was done.  Two sleepless nights followed by my the checkride.  My examiner wasted no effort or time on the plan of action he had to get us through the checkride efficiently.  When it was all done I was sure that hours must have passed but was surprised to see 9:30am on my watch.  Only 1 1/2 hours had passed.  A flying friend had told me that he thought I would probably find the checkride enjoyable once it got started.  He was correct but he didn’t prepare me for how fast we would complete everything.  It was hard to have the checkride spread out over two days but the better weather for the flight was well worth the wait.  PRIVATE PILOT …Finally!


Posted by on April 19, 2010 in Flight training


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Friday Night Sew-In

This is a drawing of a log cabin that Jacob's Dad built

Well I got a later start than I had planned on tonight. We had a to go and pick up cars at our transport lot this evening that just came in from out west. We left right after work but its an hour drive each way plus an hour to load and eat supper. By the time we got home it was nearly ten. I gave my grandson a bath, fed him, and put him to bed. I finally got to work on my project for a couple of hours.

As I was looking through my fabric to complete this project at lunchtime today I found yet another UFO. It was a quilt top that have all sewn together, basted and ready to quilt. Its only crib size but I thought that by working on this project I would have one less on my list to finish little did I know that it would be a break even proposition. Subtract this quilt off my list when I finish it soon and add the other to the list. It was my goal to not have to buy fabric to finish this project and that won’t be a problem as I found several fabrics in my stash to complete it even batting. No excuses now to not keep working on it.


Posted by on March 20, 2010 in Quilting


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