Tuesday, September 24, 2013

A Place For The Stockings.... Mantel #2

When Carter was visiting, 
he asked if Christmas stockings 
would be hung on bolts and nails again this year.
It was a reminder to us to get it in gear!
The stone masons had put in bolts during construction 
and there's been a flat strip waiting for a mantel 
to slide into it for waaaaay to long.
Rich scoping out the work to come.  (Mantel laying on the hearth)
We'd had a near impossible time finding the piece of wood for the inside mantel.
I was hoping to find something other than oak,
and didn't want it to be rustic.   

But just try to find a piece of wood that's 8' long plus deep and thick! 
Pretty much the only choices are salvaged barn beams 
which would look great in a cabin, 
but weren't what I wanted.  

Our GC, Tom came to the rescue 
when we poked through the piles of old wood stored in the upper floor 
of his 100+ year old barn loft. 

We found a perfect piece of old walnut hiding up there!

Once it was cut to shape and drilled for the bolts,
we brought out the beauty of the wood 
with some sanding plus 5 thin coats of Waterlox Finish.

We've finally got a mantel that was more than worth the wait and the procrastination.  
I wanted it to be just a touch darker than the oak trim 
and it worked out perfectly.

There's NO stain on the wood. 
The antique walnut is naturally that dark.  
The Waterlox brings out the grain 
without giving wood the "plastic" look of polyurethane.  
Framed poster from college days!
Another thing off the punch list!  

Saturday, September 21, 2013

The Punch List Begins: Outside Mantel

There's a reason that I haven't done any grand reveals of the house:
Every room, 
is lacking something. 
It might be as little as a doorstop or as big as a cabinet, 
but there's something in every room to be done. 

It's taken us this long for the unfinished details to begin bothering us.
But we're at that point 
and we're ready to put our respirators, drill, hammers and paint brushes to work again.

Stand back,
we've officially begun the campaign to knock out our punch-list!!

First thing checked off the list:  Mantels.

Last week, Barb and Rich came over for bridge and dinner 
and volunteered for a little manual labor before eating.
The outside fireplace on the lower level before:
For this mantel, we had a length of leftover oak timber from the house planed down to size
and holes were drilled to accomodate the bolts that were part of the fireplace construction. 
Then it was time for us to do the finish work.
Joe sanded the daylights out of it 
and I put on a few coats of Watco Danish Oil
 to make it just a little darker.
After waiting a week or so for the oil finish to cure, 
we coated it with about 6 thin coats of Waterlox Sealer.
Installing it was pretty simple;
it slid into place and the bolts were tightened from below....
One beautiful locally grown oak mantel:

I was excited about this post announcing that something was actually finished,
but we're still missing a fireplace screen.

Oh well it's almost done,
and in the end....
Getting something done on the house:

Time with friends:

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Friends for Life

Sometimes you meet somebody that you know is special.

Almost 20 years ago, I met one of those people.

There's that quote about 
"A friend is someone who'll bail you out of jail at 1AM,
But a true friend will be sitting beside you in the cell 
saying "Damn wasn't that fun?"

That's Cathy.  

We go together like pieces of a puzzle; 
differences and similarities that mesh
and you wind up with a friend for life,
through thick and thin. 

I instantly liked her.... 
She thought I was kind of snotty and was trying to pawn my Cub Scout Den off on her. 

But I grew on her.  :)

Not long ago, I came across this old newspaper photo from the 90's....
We were out planting trees with a few of our Cub Scouts and some forestry interns at a local park.
Cathy on the left and me on the right.
Man we had some energy back then!

Do you think I was excited that my BFF from CA 
was coming for a visit last week?  

I was over the moon.  

It didn't last long enough.

We also got to catch up with Otto 
and I was treated to seeing what a wonderful young lady Angela has turned out to be.  

Cathy brings out the crazy that's always bubbling right under the surface of me....

After snidely laughing about how young girls 
stand in such a similar way for photos nowadays,
you know:  
One knee bent, hand on hip,
hip toward the camera,
Chin up, chest forward?  

We had to do our best twenty something imitation out on the scenic overlook.
Hey, it isn't such a bad look!  
Maybe the youngsters are onto something?!

Joe and Otto weren't too embarrassed.  
They're used to these antics by now.

I wish there was a way to move California closer to Virginia.  

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Still Kicking

I mentioned something I'd seen on a blog the other day 
and Joe responded, 

"You used to have a blog."

Oh that hurt!  
Guess it's time to dust off the keyboard!

It's been a glorious September here.  

Blueberry pancakes on the porch for breakfast,
full days of activities and 
stargazing at night.

Details and more regular posts to follow!