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Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Painting a rain barrel, swinging door, and a parrot?

Today is a "catch up post" with things I have been wanting to finish up around here....

When we bought the house in late December... out in the back yard next to the porch was this blue rain barrel.  I loved the idea of having a rain barrel.  My Great Grandma Today had a rain barrel and we would stick our hands it in and play with the water.  We are now paying for city water and sewer here at this house.  Our last house was our own well water and our own septic.  With a rain barrel, I think what a great way to water my flowers!  

I had seen a web page about painting rain barrels...   http://www.aquabarrel.com/learn_how_to_paint_barrel.php
so I decided to paint this one!   

I used "Fusion" paint by Krylon as it's made for plastic and should last a long time.  Previously I had used "Fusion" on some plastic lawn furniture about 10 years ago in Oconto and it lasted a long time---

Here is the blue barrel alongside the house....  I washed it good with bleach and let it totally dry in the sun.  I started out by setting it up on a box.  I sprayed the top portion white, and then the bottom portion in green with upward strokes.   

Note the stem of the silk flower setting on the ground. That is what I used with the white and green paints as a "reverse stencil" for the artistic spraying on the base coats.   What fun!!!!!   My neighbors probably all think I am some kind of nut already, I don't care.   My old neighbors used to call me "Martha" when they saw me out in the yard canning vegetable on a turkey deep fryer, or dying sheets spread out on the lawn, or rinsing out sheep fleeces and spreading to dry on the floor of the garage.  Oh well.

When Steve got home from work,  I had him drill a hole with the hole saw.  We had bought this plastic spigot at the Farm and Home store (Do It Best) and they had this neato two piece plastic plug thing with a rubber gasket on the inside.  It's specifically for making rain barrels.  You screw one piece from the inside and one from the outside with the rubber gasket making a water tight seal.  Once that is in place, you screw in the spigot with a little TFE paste or plumber's tape to make a good seal.

We set the barrel up on two cement base stones so it would be raised enough to fit my watering can underneath it.  The overflow hose (which was already on the barrel) is leading off  to the side yard where the tiger lillies are coming up.   The rain coming off the back shaker porch is what runs down the gutter into the barrel.   We had a little rain overnight, and it already filled the barrel up 1/3 of the way.

 (I still have to finish staining the two upper posts that support the porch roof) 

Another project that we tackled last night was a lot of fun and turned out to be a lot less work than we thought!

When we bought the house, there were two doors stored in the basement root cellar room.  One was originally from the fiber storage room upstairs where an accordion folding door has been installed.  Right away, we took off the accordion door and replaced it with the original door that belonged there.

The other door was a "Swinging Door" that was meant for the doorway between the kitchen and the pantry (now my laundry room).  In talking to one of the daughters who were raised here, she said she never remembers that door ever being in place.  Since the house was built in 1913-14, that means the door had been removed sometime over 40-50 years ago.  It spent half of it's life stuck down in the root cellar room.  We think it was taken out because when it swung inwards, it would hit the edge of the newer cabinetry that was installed later in the pantry?

So we hauled the door up from the basement storage area and laid it on some sawhorses in the garage.  We realize that the floor in the kitchen is now much higher than it had been 50+ years ago.  Three more layers of flooring and a subfloor occupy that doorway where this door once hung.  Steve sawed  3/4" off the bottom, cut out a new notch for the swinging hardware device and wire brushed off the rusty metal parts. I coated those with new rustoleum paint.  Then I decided to tackle the finish... thinking the door would need sanding, restaining and new varnish?  Well, with soft rags and a can of Liquid Gold... all the wood came out just gleaming clean!  The old varnish was still in very good shape and preserved the finish underneath all that dirt!

BEFORE                                                            AFTER

Amazing! No refinishing needed at all!   Note--- in the background is ANOTHER blue barrel.  I might paint that one too and put it under the rain gutter behind the garage and use it to water tomatoes I want to plant back there.

Back to the door:

Since it looks so good, Steve screwed in the swinging hinge pieces and we brought the door into the house.  It is now restored back to it's original place in the kitchen!  It looks so nice there on the left of the grandtot photos.

The door to the far left is also a swinging door that leads to the formal dining room
The middle door is the one we just put into place to the laundry room. 
The door to the right leads to the downstairs bathroom, back hallway and down to the basement. 

Speaking of the laundry room... it's finally DONE!   (just about) I want to coat the newer style oak cabinets with a layer of colored polyurethane to make it match the rest of our woodwork. We moved up the washing machine, dryer and laundry sink to this room after moving the main appliances into the kitchen and removing the bottom cabinets and sink.  We have a bit of trim to finish up, but mostly the room is done and functional.  The door to the right in the right photo leads up the back stairs to the upper floor.


On Saturday morning, Steve went to help his brother move some exercise equipment he bought from a friend's mother.  While there, the lady was preparing for a rummage sale.  She had Steve look at her "treasures".... and he brought home some wonderful things for our home! 

This stained glass parrot is wonderful!   I hung it up on the front porch and it turns around in the breezes from the open windows.  The stuffed collie is waiting in the grandtot bedroom for a hug the next time the wee ones visit.   Ducky, our collie, came in and laid down by it last night, like a littermate. Awwww

 And these two life-sized Raggedy Ann and Andy are going to bring squeals of delight...
someone hand made them! What a nice addition to the grandtot bedroom. 

Okay.. enough blogging and pictures today. I just wanted to catch up a few things on the blog that I forgot to mention yesterday.

Gonna put on my walking shoes, and hitch up the doggies' leashes.  We are heading to the post office where I tie them to the railing and run inside to ship boxes out... they wait patiently and I give them doggie treats when I come back out again.  It's about as far as old Ducky can walk now.  Three blocks over and three blocks back and she is all done in for the day.  Almost 14 now.  Elegant old lady who thinks a stuffed collie is her littermate... what a silly dog.  Reverting to puppyhood????


  1. I had to reread "sheep fleeces" twice! ROFL!

    1. Yup...I had washed and processed 24 sheep fleeces for spinning into yarn....and had them drying in my garage. The neighbor's husky dog came and ripped them to shreds!

  2. You should see all the fiber in our basement. I have hardly had time to spin or use CSM. Love the Parrot and your laundry room door looks so good! OH! I saw a photo where someone stacked 4 rain barrels. All were laid horizontally and drained to the lower one (capped/sealed) The bottom one had the spigot. Was cool looking. They had built the "frame" to hold it. I think if it were me, I would grow a vine or something on it.

  3. Steve and Karen you are sure doing a wonderful job of turning a house into a home. Love the story.


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