Monday, July 25, 2016

Railings for the Wrap Around Porch

This past week/weekend Jon installed new rails for the wrap around front porch.  View looking west

He installed the stair posts and rails first.
It's been so suffering hot/humid, Jon works a little bit each night.  At some point in the future, Jon will trim a little off the tops of the posts to add four caps and finials that I purchased.  

 New rails for the porch - installed at original 1893 height.  

Back in 2009--My Mom Lorraine and I repaired the salvaged/decaying spindles from the original porch railing design.  Even after we labored to repair missing areas with wood putty--in the end the spindles were wafer brittle and dehydrated/light weight, feeling more like cardboard replicas after 120+ years of exposure.  Jon chose to replicate the original rail moldings, and present the vertical styles without the spindles.  

Standing L-R: Leon Pasternacki and his wife Bessie Pauline (Quien) Pasternacki, Donna Quien, Ruth Quien, and Ragnhild Quien.  Seated is Maren (Gurholt) Quien.  

Photo: our front porch modified into a screened in porch - about 1938.  Maren's husband Thomas is missing from the photo, and looking at the young Donna Quien center, I'll guess this photo was taken August 1938 at a gathering after the funeral of Thomas Quien.

This photo shows the front porch's original railing, spindles, and vertical pieces.

Maren Quien and her husband Thomas Quien bought the house December 1917, and lived
there with their children Ragnhild, Bessie, Gusta, and Peter.  Peter's wife is Ruth (Danielson) Quien and daugthers Mary Jo and Donna.  Leon and Bessie lived in Ohio, until 1967 when they moved to Scandinavia and lived next door to our house.

Front Porch Photo taken about 1925 - Thomas Quien and his granddaughters R-Donna and L-Mary Jo Quien.  Thomas and Maren Quien's son Peter, his wife Ruth, and their two daughters Donna and Mary Jo lived together.

Photo of our house about 1905 - 2nd from left is Mabel Wrolstad daughter of John Olson Wrolstad (the man who built our house in 1893).  Photo's age is based on clothing, and Mabel's age.  I've seen other photos of Mabel and she is easy to recognize.  Mr. Wrolstad died at home here in December 1907, and his widow Mathea moved to Gillette, WI to live with her oldest daughter Sina.  Mathea passed away in 1909.

West side of Wrap Around Front Porch.  New flooring, new rails, repaired original column bases.  Ready to prime and paint.  I hear someone calling my name . . . . . .

Monday, July 11, 2016

Repairing Front Porch - June/July 2016

July - 2016
Jon repairs columns on the front porch

When we first bought the house back in April 2007--we had to work on the house a full year before we could move in.  During that year--one of the first tasks was to repair the front porch.  

Below are photos of the front porch as it was when we bought it, and repaired it in 2008.

Peeling off the decay.  Photo of my father Gale and husband Jon (both professional contractors) as they discuss rebuilding the porch structure, saving the columns.
rebuilding/restoring the columns

New front porch structure 2008

Rebuilt/Restored Front Porch

Front Porch Summer of 2009

Jon replaced the front porch ceiling, and he and dad built new stairs as well.  And, we continued on and on with repair of the other two porches, and long list of projects inside the house.  For the first 5 years--there was never a stopping point--just moving forward one project at a time. 

2008: Jon rebuilt the East Porch with salvaged original spindles, and rails fabricated from new stock. 

West Porch - new floor structure and newly painted 2008

Note: we scraped, primed, and painted the exterior of the house Light Green with Orange and Brown Accents during the summers of 2007 and 2008 while I was still working full time.  

Then in summer/fall of 2014 we scraped primed, and REPAINTED the exterior of the house again changing to a darker Mossy Green (Sherwin Williams).  

Back to the topic of his post . . . Repairing Front Porch - June/July 2006

In a perfect world, you repair porch floors and they last forever, right?  But that didn't happen.  

The 2008 new porch boards began to cup,  and in June 2016 we could no longer rock in our rocking chairs on the Front Porch (north side).  This summer Jon tore off the old boards and replaced with a quality stable PVC decking.  

Sometimes, you have to go with modern technology to make repairs that will last--even for a historic house like this.  Our goal is to make this house a home for us, and the family who follows us.   We purchased enough decking for the East Porch too.  

Jon attended to additional repairs to the front porch columns.  This time, Jon inserted a rubber boot at the base of the columns.

 The new decking is great in dark gray color.  Now I can rock in my chair on the front porch again.  

Jon measures white PVC material to cover repairs.  He's gonna bevel the edge to create a proper drip edge.  This shroud material can be painted ivory like the rest of the house trim.  

Last weekend--Jon repainted the front steps.  The rails will go on the porch and steps soon.

Jon had his cousin Lloyd Durrant reproduce the hand rails to match the original rails.

Here's a photo of Dad--working on the front porch restoration

Who is this masked woman?  I think it's me.

Mom--scraping paint on the front porch.  She delicately hand painted the (4) bird medallions at the front porch doors.  

Photo of our house c. 1905
Everything takes time and Jon doesn't get much of an opportunity to rest.  He puts in 60+ hours a week at work--then spends his weekends working on our house and yard.

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Restoring Another Victorian House

Good News--for my Brother Will
He bought an 1892 Queen Anne Victorian in Wild Rose, WI
And it needs restoration.  I jumped on board to help him.

I hope you will follow the restoration of WILD ROSE VICTORIAN HOUSE.  It is a beautiful home with original woodwork and stained glass windows!

Use the link above, or look to the right margin of my blog--see MY OTHER BLOGS.  Click on the link,  Wild Rose Victorian House.

Be sure to submit your email to follow us daily/weekly to see photos and hear about our progress.

Standing in front of the vestibule/front entrance, my brother Will is repairing hairline wall cracks in the living room, covering strips of web tape with Durabond.

I am working the perimeter of the living room, from the chair rail upwards as far as I can reach on my small 4-step ladder.  

When we first looked at the living room with 7 doors, we could see large bumpy, lumpy wall cracks under layers of wallpaper.

We opened those poorly repaired cracks--scoring and cleaning away the bumpy repair with a 5-in-1 tool, then re-filled them in several stages with hand mixed Durabond.  Once the wounds were closed and hand sanded, strips of web tape are embedded with a skim coat of Durabond.  No more bumpy lumpy. 

Will and I spent the better part of June here in the living room steaming layers of wallpaper. 

 Removing wallpaper is tedious even with a steamer.  One thing is for sure, you get to see every single hairline crack as you scrape stamp size bits and bigger hand size pieces of wallpaper.  
The paper was stuck down tight.  

First day, we thought spritzing water infused with fabric softener would remove the wallpaper quickly, but it didn't.  We switched to a steamer and the paper came off better, not great, just better.

Paint was flaking off of these beautiful stained glass windows in the office.  I removed the 1980s shutters, then put on my mask and brought out the shop vac with hepa filter to start scraping.

 2 of 4 Stained Glass Windows in the office.

Below: brother Will has some incredible stained glass windows and doors in the front entrance

He removed the interior door #1 to the living room, giving me better access to removing wallpaper.

Lots of weighted wavy glass windows to remove, re-glaze, reinstall.  

The first window I dismantled and re-glazed--the ropes and weights worked well.  I hope this is good sign for the remaining windows.  I re-glazed with Dep 33 glazing compound.  My first attempt to re-glaze looked terrible, so I  did it again, and again, and 3rd time it looked great--smooth and the bevel angle really nice.  I let it the glaze cure for a more than a week, now I'm ready to prime and paint it.  

I ordered some canvas prints of George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, and Benjamin Franklin--my brother's favorite statesmen.  Those art pieces will arrive next week for his Living Room and Office.  In the mean time I brought over my copy of a framed print of George Washington.  Ha. Ha.  I brought George over for a visit.  

Sometimes I hear brother Will giggling, and I hear him tell himself what a good jobs he's doing.  
Then I start to laugh.  

This is repetitive, but relaxing work.  I never get used to the idea the room looking a whole lot worse before it turns the corner and starts becoming lovely.  We can see past the mess at this point, and are excited about the next steps.  Hope you'll follow WILD ROSE VICTORIAN HOUSE blog.

Monday, April 25, 2016

Night Shirts Quilt

I dreamed of a blue and gray bed quilt.

Squares in a square, and then it kind of developed into "split squares in a split square".

So much for the gray--the blues ran away with this quilt.

I dug into the 1/4 yard and 1/2 yard remnants.  My goal is to reduce my scraps/remnants by making one scrappy queen size quilt each month.  So far, 5 quilts finished.  But really, the count is 6 queen size quilts since the beginning of the year I'd forgotten about--one I built for an artist friend Sue with kaleidoscope blocks, yo-yos and hand stitched beaded prairie points called "Folk Art Quilt" pictured below.

Because I added yo-yos to this quilt (while quilting it) I had to move the take-up rail upwards to make room for the extra yo-yos adding to its thickness.  The rolled up quilt kept getting fatter and fatter as I quilted.  I needed extra space under the take-up rail.

Moving/messing with the take-up rail caused me lots of problems on subsequent quilts.  I moved the too tall take-up rail down for the next quilt.  But this adjustment made the quilt frame out of square.  I learned a good lesson, but it I was slow to process what was going on.  Problems coming my way.

I couldn't get my head around why I was tugging and snugging at my next quilts during the long arm process.  I checked quilt frame level and it was perfect.  Here's the deal though.  Listen closely, and pretend your shoulders are the take-up rail . . .

Now stand up straight as you can, hands at your side.  Nice and straight shoulders you think?  How about curling your left shoulder inward about 1/4".  Go ahead, curl your shoulder slightly forward.  Now, your shoulder is not square.  I was driving my quilt slightly sideways down the road.  All the tugging and snugging I did, trying to keep things in line while I quilted was puzzling to me, but I wasn't understanding why.

This is how you can screw up your machine timing, and the position of the stitch finger.  Ask me how I know, and better yet ask me how much it cost to repair it.  Ugh.

Jon squared my quilt frame for me on Sunday.  He cut me a wood tool too, to check distance from the left, right, middle of the belly bar to the take-up rail.  He scribed Sharpie lines at the left and right uprights on the belly bar and take-up rails . . . to give me an opportunity to check and double check before I start a project.  It is another couple things to add to my start up checklist.  But that's ok.  Lesson Learned.  Did I tell you my serger died last Monday?  Oh my, what a week!

Ok--now let's get on to the photos of Night Shirt Quilts.  It turned out fine, I got my long arm machine repaired.  Wonderful work performed by Ken from Green Bay, the sewing machine whisperer.  I re-loaded the quilt and finished hand stitching binding Saturday night.  Done.

Feather Bouquet, free style edge to edge - free motion quilting

taking the beast off the frame

backing features art panel of left over blocks from the quilt top

Time to Rest!

I love the double border.  Used up sub-assemblies from the smaller split squares, sewed them end to end to create border.  Bye, bye, scraps. 

I bid a fond farewell to a particular fabric.  Navy with small turquoise paisley.  You are gone now, used up in several scrappy quilts.  I loved you, you little bugger.  I will miss you.

Thanks for stopping by my blog.