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Monday, December 11, 2017

Bathroom Facelift - Privacy Lace Applique to Windows

Our bathroom facelift is going quite well. It is our Christmas present to each other and we will probably be done by the end of the week.  Today Steve took care of grinding off any lumps of glue after removing the plastic tiles. He used a power oscillating tool with the flat knife edge.

While he did that, I was busy down in the basement doing the final coats on the beadboards and trim. I think it is going quite well.  I just finished the polyurethane this evening after double and triple checking that the stain colors are right.

I think it takes a special knack to get just the right colors when trying to match the patina of the old wood.  Being 103 years old, it has the golden undertones from the naturally aging pine, which is tough to match.  Then the reddish orange of the stain plus the darkened areas of brown over the years due to aging varnish.  I think I got it pretty danged close!

 (here is an original door in our kitchen with the same coloring) 

While I am waiting for the poly to dry, I spent the rest of the day working on a few other projects.  Here is the old medicine cabinet that I bought off the Facebook Marketplace for $10. A lady had already sanded it down and then changed her mind on finishing it.  She also broke the mirror.  No problem, our son works for a glass company and ordered a new beveled mirror for me! Thanks, Dan!

I touched up the sanding a bit more, removed the latch and got it ready to stain. I laid a piece of tin foil between the inside box and the front face of the cabinet.  Once the outside stain and poly are done, then I can remove the tin foil and give the inside a fresh coat of white paint.


While that was drying, I popped a pot roast in the electric pressure cooker, so supper would be done in time when Steve got home, and I could keep playing with my next project! 


I saw this technique a while back on Facebook and saved the link: 


I did this technique on the french doors between our dining room and my Loom Room. Now that I know how well it works, I am going to do it to our window in the upstairs bathroom.  Here is a blog post of when I did those: 

Adding Lace Applique to French Doors

By using the simple cornstarch and water solution in the instructions shared above, I will adhere the lace to each section of glass.  If I tire of it or do not like the outcome, I can just wash it off with warm water to remove it. 

I found some lace in a thrift shop, from a set of curtain valances.  I wanted something with a bit of pattern to it, not just flowers willy nilly all over. I was happy with these, and it cost me a whole $1.00 !

I removed the stitching of the rod pocket so I could use that part of the lace as well. I needed 2 pieces each 22 1/2 inches by 13 5/8 inches. I carefully cut 2 pieces of the lace, lining up the motifs so each window pane is same.  I starched each one to stiffen them up to make them easier to work with.

 Now it was time to mix up the recipe.. this is amazing!  I gathered my supplies:

Take 4 tablespoons of water and 4 tablespoons of powdered corn starch... (I suggest a large 4 cup pyrex mixing cup) ... mix them up until dissolved and it is a watery liquid similar to milk.  Okayyyyyy

Now, in a separate measuring cup, heat up 1 and a half cups of water until boiling!   I used the microwave about 4 minutes.  Pour the boiling water into the milky blend and stir stir stir!  It instantly makes a thick gel!  Like soft pudding!   Amazing!!!

That is enough to do two 13x23 window panes.

In the instructions on that Facebook link above, she used a bristle brush to apply the gelatinous solution to the glass. Sometimes those type of brushes lose bristles. Instead, I chose foam brushes.  I covered the flooring and windowsill underneath with a thick towel to catch drips, and I had a roll of papertowels at the standby in case I needed them.  

Next I started to brush on the gel----

Wow! This was really easy! 

It was not too messy and I worked one pane of glass at a time.

Start the lace carefully at the corner and spread the lace upwards and across.

I would say to be sure your lace is cut to the exact size, because once it is on the glass, you really can not trim it at all.

I found that once I set the lace flat on the window, I could easily press it into place on the thick gel. I could hold it in place on the edge with my fingernail while brushing gently sideways with more of the gel on the top of lace.  The gel is warm, so you have to work kinda fast to keep it thin enough to brush over the lace. It thickens as it cools.

Easy clean up and I would suggest that you use a paper towel to swab all the leftover concoction into the garbage can, as opposed to rinsing it down the sink. It may clog your drain as it cools down and thickens.

Then just toss the foam brushes away.

It's hard to take a pic in the daylight
because the camera keeps adjusting to the light,
and doesn't focus on the lace pattern.
My eye sees it, but the camera doesn't.

Now I stood back to admire my work:

As it dries, it gets more translucent.

I added some taters and carrots to the pressure cooker and set it for another 15 minutes. Supper was done and I was able to work on projects all afternoon.  I LOVE my electric pressure cooker. My friend Linda just bought one and now my friend Rosie is going to get one, once she decides how big or small she needs. 

I went back upstairs after supper to see about taking pics of the lace covered window at night. Much nicer!  It shows the detail better.  

On our house, we have outside storm windows, and then the old lovely wooden windows and frames, and we also added some inside storm windows that slide into place for the winter, and come off and store in the closet for summer.  That is what the solid pane of glass is. This helps with the heat bill, and is a compromise because Steve wants to rip out all the old windows and put in new ones!!! ACKKKK NO!

Speaking of the old wooden windows and frames...  Over the 103 years, there was a lot of different curtain and window shade hardware attached to the woodwork.  I took the brackets off now that we have the lace on the glass for privacy. My job tomorrow will be to carefully fill the holes with a matching wood putty, and clean up the surface, and touch up with some stain and poly. Since I already have it mixed to the right color, it should blend in well. I hope. 

As for my new window covering????

  I love it!!!

Added P.S. ... today is the Third Anniversary of Binney's "Gotcha Day" !!!  The day we adopted her through the combined efforts of the Michigan and Wisconsin Sheltie Rescue groups.  

Three years ago today, this little girl found her *furever* home with us! Thank you to Michigan Sheltie Rescue, Robin Matthews and Carol Sorweide for getting her healthy from the skin and bones heartworm ridden dog she was at the time of the raid on the hoarder. 

Then thanks to Virginia Halverson for transporting her here and Lisa Martin with the Wisconsin Sheltie Rescue for trusting us to take care of her. Finney and Binney bonded instantly and are inseparable best buddies now~  

She seems so happy to have a house of her own, windows to look out of (they were shut into closets and boarded up rooms)  and fresh air, plenty of food, sunshine and all of the things a good little doggie deserves! 

"YOU'VE COME A LONG WAY BABY!" Sassy feisty little girl Binney today. When we got her, she was a scared little timid thing huddled in the corner, her "safe spot". She didn't know about toys or walks or having fun fun fun!

Happy Gotcha Day Anniversary, Binney,
Here is to many many more!!

Saturday, December 9, 2017

Partway Through the Bathroom Facelift


We had our plan in mind... 
we took our measurements... 
(checked them twice)... 
and headed out with a cut list of supplies! 

Here is Steveio, loading up the beadboard and trim boards on the cute little trailer he bought last summer. It sure has come in handy for small projects, especially when some of the boards were 10 feet long.  It was just beginning to snow, so we got home and the wood was pretty dry and no road slop on any of it. Whew!

Next up was to gather some tools.  Ahhhh this is a good start!

Steve carried all of the wood down to the basement.  Our basement is divided up into three rooms plus a cistern.  I would need to spread out my work into all three rooms to get all the wood laid out. We brought the sawhorses down as well.  Sooo funny, last spring I "garbage picked" a couple sets of sawhorses and Steve was totally against me taking them.  Well, he said we had a nice metal set of 2, and one wooden set left behind by the sellers.... so why get more?   ha!  We used all four sets last summer while I stained all the spindles and crossboards for our big fence project.  Having four sets lets me get more productive and thus more units can dry at the same time!

With careful testing, I determined that on our wood, we need 2 coats of Minwax stain. My formula is 4 parts Golden Pecan, 2 parts Red Chestnut and 1/2 part Jacobean to obtain the right orangey-reddish-brown to match the 103 year old woodwork stain in our home.

Here is about 30 sq feet of beadboard with the first coat of stain on it
the 8 foot long boards will be cut into two 48" pieces for our wainscoting
This batch is in my workroom

Here is another 60 sq feet in the root cellar room, 
with a first coat on them

These are the baseboards and top cap trim,
they have 2 coats on them and are the right color now. 

Maybe tomorrow evening I can get the final coat of clear polyurethane on them.  I have some leftover quick drying floor poly from when I redid the hardwood floors 2 years ago. I think that will make a good solid strong seal on the bathroom walls. It's stuff from a gym floor supply poly company.

While I was down in the basement staining, Steve was upstairs working on tearing off the plastic tiles and baseboards.  He also removed the chrome medicine cabinet.  Wow.. look how thick the plaster is in this 103 year old house!  It's a 1/2 inch layer of thick cement onto the lathes.   No wonder we don't have any wall cracks!!  It's really solid and tough stuff.  Not like the thin skim coats they do nowadays of chalky white stuff on gypsum wallboard.

Steve works fast!!!  He had most of this done within an hour!   Of course, the plastic tiles just kinda pop off after being glued on for about 60 years.  He will take down any of the rougher bumps of plaster and glue with a small oscillating tool and I will shop vac up the mess as we go.  Less of dust and junk flying around in the air. 

The three walls, North, East and South were all tiled.... the West wall along the tub we had taken down those tiles five years ago when we redid that part of the bathroom.  Now the new beadboard will go on all of the walls, 48 inches up, with a 5 inch thick baseboard. It will be high enough to cover the old surface and glued messy icky wall underneath.

I bought a quart of white paint to cover the heat register grate as well. These lovely old cast iron grates are so wonderful, and I would like to leave it original... but this was already painted many times before. The rest of the registers in our house are original and untouched .

While I had my brushes and white paint stuff out... I decided to paint the little table for next to the tub. It has been white when I first bought it, and I painted it cream back then. Now it's back to white.  It's perfect for setting my glass of wine on, or an ice water, my MP3 player, and a candle, while taking a relaxing bubble bath. 

I saw an ad on the local buy sell trade Facebook Marketplace site. It was PERFECT! We wanted an old medicine cabinet, but most we have seen are painted. I want to stain one to match the beadboard.  Yes, Steve could make one, but I wanted an "old one".  Sure enough, a lady was selling this one that has already been stripped, for a mere $10, this came home with me! 

Replacing THIS with THIS (after it gets stained)

Lucky for us, our son works for a glass cutting plant, and I think I can beg him to make me a nice bevelled edge mirror to go in the door opening!  


Mr Antsy Pantsy wants me to hurry and get all this wood stained and poly'd quick, he wants to start cutting the beadboards in half and attaching them to the walls.

But but but --- we had a few other things to take care of this week...

  • We babysat on Thursday up to Oconto for Jameson and Whitney while their parents went to his company Christmas party.  
  • Today we got up at the crack before dawn to help transport garage items from Steve's dad's old house to his new house. That resulted in 350 miles of a convoy round trip to get a lot of stuff done.  
  • This this evening we snatched up granddaughter Claire to babysit so her parents could go to their company Christmas party! 

Walls can wait a bit,
Dad needs our help and 
Grandkids grow up too fast! 

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Getting a Facelift for Christmas!!!

Yes, I am getting a facelift for Christmas! And best of all, Steve wants it too...

Not surgery, silly readers, we are going to give a facelift to another room in what we fondly refer to as "Our Old House" which is our 1914 home.

See, most of your readers remember that we bought the house 5 years ago. The bathroom was not in the best of condition. It was the only room in the house that really wasn't original to the house date of construction anymore.

Those are not real tiles,
they are plastic glued on tiles from the 60's....

Keep in mind, the elderly people who had last lived in our home probably made these changes in the forties, fifties and sixties to the bathroom. After they passed away, we bought the home, unchanged, from their 3 daughters.  Nothing else was updated or changed over the years prior to our purchase.

We do cherish the originality of our home with all of the gorgeous woodwork, the hardwood floors, and the overall structure and construction of the house. It was just the out of sync bathroom that needed to be addressed...

In striving to make it more pleasant than original, we also had to deal with the evidence of a leaking toilet over time, and removing a turquoise bathtub and shower enclosure that had seen better days.

The ceiling was in rough shape as well, there was some evidence of a past roof leak (that have been repaired), and over the tub it was falling down due to not having a bathroom vent installed.  There were ugly acoustical square tiles that had been attached to the ceiling. The upper walls were adorned with patterned printed wallpaper and the lower walls are covered in plastic square tiles that are just glued on.  It was a mix-mux of patterns highlighted by the gold metallic and white linoleum flooring that was curved up the walls as faux baseboards?? 

This is how it looked when we bought the house:

Notice in the pic above of the crazy medicine cabinet had those two vertical fluorescent tube lights that drove me nuts. Not only did they flicker on and off to get started, but the plastic housing covers were all yellowed and cracked. We removed those and later added two beautiful wall sconces instead.

After repairing the plumbing and the sub floor boards, we replaced the flooring with something neutral.  With  all of the patterns to the wallpaper and tiles, we didn't need another pattern on the floor.  So we chose a soft creamy neutral ombre sheet vinyl to cover the floors with (after fixing the sub floors and plumbing and then using leveling compound).

We cut down the wall between the tub/shower enclosure and the open space behind it.  We were planning to use this space for a whole new configuration. 

Instead of the crazy outdated bathtub shower enclosure, we pulled that old cast iron tub out which was a HUGE project.  We had to bust it in half with a sledgehammer to haul it out in two pieces.  Steve and I slid each half down the staircase (with three turns!) out the front door and porch, and onto a tarp to drag it to the garage for the metal scrappers to pick up.

We pulled off the wallpaper, yanked down the ceiling tiles and did new sheetrock all over the ceiling and upper walls. We also installed a new bathroom fan/light fixture that had an old fashioned appearance with the fan hidden up under the light shade.

We put in a more simple white plain looking bathtub and a separate stand up shower stall tucked away behind the door. It was the best of both worlds, because I enjoy the baths and Steve enjoys the showers ---- he likes a separate walk-in stall like we had in our last home.

The toilet and the sink had been more recently replaced by the previous owners and those were of good quality. We kept those 5 years ago when we did the other work in our bathroom.

Don't get me wrong, we love our beautiful old house. But we want to restore things back to what it would have been like in 1914 and erase stuff from the forties and the fifties and the sixties if we can.

All of that work you see in the pics above was being completed 5 years ago when we first bought the house. It was all well and good and we liked what we did to improve the bathroom.


Those crazy plastic tiles bug me!!!!! They are not attractive to my eyes, and they are really a creamy faded non-white with brown speckles that never seem to be clean. Not to mention, the cracks in between aren't really grouted, the tiles are just glued into place. Of which those tiles keep falling off and we have to keep gluing them back into place. arrgghhh!!!

As we undertake this new facelift project, these are our "BEFORE" pics of the bathroom. This is how it presently looks right now.



(ps the antique lamp cord is not plugged in, it's just for looks) 



Steve and I were having a tough time finding ideas of what to get each other for Christmas. So we decided we would jointly work on this bathroom together and pick up all of the materials as our Christmas Presents to each other.  Besides, we like working on projects together, so that makes it extra special fun.

Our first stop last night was to the Restore for Habitat for Humanity, just in case they had what we were looking for.  I used to love going into the Restores, but lately they seem to be so filled up with furniture and not actually leftover building materials. Over half of the display floor in the Appleton and Fond du Lac Restores is covered with discarded couches and chairs and crazy fiberboard cheap bedroom dressers and headboards. I think people are using them as a Dumping Ground of Junk rather than a place for contractors and home fix-it people to donate their leftover or reusable construction materials.

We then drove to three different home improvement stores to get some ideas.

Here is a hint: This is our lovely linen closet in the hallway.

Steve removed a door to set in the bathroom to get an idea....

I guess now you'll have to come back here to see what we are up to.

 Check back as my face lift goes under the knife ----- errrrrr saw?