Monday, July 30, 2012

Jake: Our Spiral Staircase Fabricator

Here's my husband Jon checking the circumference of the spiral staircase.  Jon poured the concrete pad 8 ft. wide and it will fit perfectly. 

I saw Jake's shop last Saturday and got to see the spiral staircase he's building for my studio.  I jumped right up the steps and tried them out.

This the fabricator, Jake. 

There are two more steps to weld into position. 
The bottom step faces east where patrons will parking on the east side of the studio, and the last step will face north to meet a landing, and connect to the studio balcony. 

My husband Jon tries out a couple steps.

The whole spiral staircase will be delivered in one piece as I understand.  The staircase will rest on a long trailer and will make its journey about 15 miles from Jake's shop to the art studio.

I know it will look quite different once the railing is added.  The staircase will be dry-fitted and then go back to Jake's shop one more time to add the landing, then primed and painted black. 

We're less than a week away from kicking the aluminum ladder out of the way. 

This will be a wonderful occasion. 

I'm going to pour myself a drink.  And I don't drink. 

I am excited to have my two favorite ladies, my Mom Lorraine and my mother in law Betty over to see and play in the studio next month.    Both gals are top notch seamstresses. 

Today, I saw RED.  I started painting the exterior of our two story garage.  I finished prime coats on the lower level of west and north walls.  It's looking good.  I really wanted the garage/studio to look like it belonged to the old barn.  So that means once the garage/studio exterior has two coats, then I can start scraping down the old barn to paint it red too. 

Regarding the old barn--I already scraped a couple of minutes, and the old paint is coming off easy. 
It's like scraping dried corn kernels off the cob.  It takes some work, but comes off clean down to the gray parched ship-lap boards.  By the way, we had the garage/studio exterior boards fabricated to match the old barn ship-lap.  

Will I be sad when another 10 years rolls around
and I can't work like this and climb a scaffold like a monkey? 

Well, I don't know. 

The 60 year old part of me says YES, and the monkey part of me says, NO. 

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Getting Ready for Stairs for Art Studio

Every job has a beginning, a middle, and an end.  

Pouring an 8 by 22ft. concrete pad begins the task of preparation for the spiral staircase to the studio. 

Soon, friends and family can visit the studio,  and no more climbing the aluminum ladder.   

Here are some photos of the concrete pour . . . as it happened on a 100 degree day.   

In the background is our big old barn. 
I have every reason to believe the barn is the same age as the house--120 years old. 

Good Friends:
Al gives a nod, that everything is going well. 
Steve begins raking the first concrete pour.

First section is poured, and 2nd section begins. 
My husband Jon is the fella in the white t-shirt closest to the building.

My husband Jon and his friend Al strike the poured concrete.  I can't help but notice how well Steve has raked the concrete, making the back and forth motion of the strike perfect and very little waste over the edge of the wood form. 

The last section is poured as Jon and Steve tap, shift, rake, fill concrete to a level perfect for striking.  These boys have poured a lot of concrete in their day.  

Then, I quickly climbed the aluminum ladder to get to the studio to take some aerial views of the concrete pour.  Stepping through the studio door onto the south balcony.

The view from the balcony to our back yard.  Notice the huge 8 ft. high fence Jon built for the garden.  Looks like a pen for giraffes doesn't it?  We had failed gardens 2 years in a row, and gave up on putting in a vegetable garden this spring.  That was a good choice--a terrible drought this summer.

Looking over the edge of the balcony, I took this photograph of the boys finishing the last section.

A hour after the pour and strike, Jon magged the concrete. 
Every locale or concrete crew has a different term for handling concrete. 

Magging is smoothing the surface, taking out the ridges made by the strike.

Later than evening Jon used a concrete saw to divide the concrete, making relief cuts.  Freezing and thawing causes concrete to heave and twist from season to season.  Relief cuts help stabilize the concrete pad.

This weekend Jon glued down a rubber membrane flooring on the balcony--and now it looks (better) quite different than this photograph. 

After the staircase is installed Jon will finish balcony area with exterior clapboards on ceiling and walls.  A steel balcony railing will be installed too. 

This weekend we took a trip to see Jake who is building the spiral staircase.  I'll post those photos too.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

My Studio

Here's the north wall of my second story studio we are building.

Eventually this area will house all of my sewing fabrics, machines, and notions.

The table makes a good table for pattern layout and cutting.

The white shelf rails around the perimeter of the studio look great against the gray walls and black cubbies and library card files.  But the most important reason for the shelf rails--they provide a place to display/access serger thread spools, and long arm quilting thread spools.    

For the time being the studio is where I spend my days sewing. 

When I'm not sewing-- I keep house, work on my book, and do genealogy/house research for people like me who have old homes they've restored and want to know the names of their house's previous owners, children's names, and learn about local history. 

This is the area where I'll put the long arm quilting frame and machine.  

Left is the west dormer where I sew. 

I have 3 machines set up in the west dormer.  General purpose sewing machine, serger, and embroidery machine.  I have fun with all of them.  


Here's a view of the east dormer to the left, and further on the balcony at the south end.  Off the balcony we are installing a spiral staircase . . . . yes, yes, it's true . . . real stairs. 

The elevator will be installed eventually.  When?  I don't know. 
Jon works 6 days a week, so things get delayed.  He works so hard all the time. 

Another long view of the studio's south balcony.  To the left you can see a bit of the east dormer and temporary foam door to the elevator shaft.  Currently I climb up an aluminum ladder in the elevator shaft to access the studio.  I climb up and down the ladder a dozen times a day.  Good exercise for a 60 year old, eh?


Sunday, July 8, 2012

It's Groovy Man

My hubsand Jon gave me a big fat clue last week.

He said he saw 3 women this past week--they were carrying big purses with peace symbols on them.

I said--you're kidding me, right?

Jon said the women were all different ages, young and old.   By old, I'm sure he meant old hippies like me.

Hummmm,  clickety, clickety, click.
Then the whirly-gig in my head started to spin, and I thought about the peace sign fabric I saw at Hancock Fabrics a week ago.  I saw black batik cotton with lime green peace symbols on it.

The following morning I drove to Stevens Point and bought the fabric.

I cut enough fabric to build a 20" tote and began by quilting the black batik with lime green thread to make it padded and to increase its durability.  It is also an opportunity to use up not so lovely cottons in my stash for the backing, and polar fleece for the loft (middle).   

Here's the interior of the tote.  See inside there?  It's something unique.

There are two seat cushions inside, stacked one on top of the other.

I re-cycled those two foam cushions.  I carved out the center of the foam and turned them into storage containers for my audio equipment. 

Here's the seat cushion converted into a storage container.  The pad on top has a strap and velcro to hold the equipment secure.  The button is an indicator which end of the strap to pull on to release the velcro.

I had a hunk of 1" foam left over from another project.  I cut two squares of  1 inch foam and covered it with the lime green batik to make a backing for the cushions.  I hand-stitched around the perimeter, very small stitches to make the bottom secure.

With the top pad and straps folded under the cushion, you can see the negative space where the equipment is stored.  

Because the equipment is such an odd ball shape, I cut 3" strips of black batik fabric, serged the raw edges, and wraped the strips around and around the cushion until everything was covered.  Some hand stitches on the back keeps the wraps tight and snug.  I am pleased with the results. 

Sometimes my experiments make it as far as the waste paper can--but this one worked out very well.

I can always put the cushions away in the closet too, and use the oversized tote for an ovenight bag.

But, I have a far better idea.  I think it would make a great shopping tote for buying fabric at Hancock's.

There is no cure yet for those who like to buy fabric

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Old Lampshade Re-do

This serpentine shaped vintage lampshade is my latest re-do project. 
Here it is, falling apart. 
The fabric so brittle it is difficult to handle without poking your finger through its wall.

I'll be looking for some fabric that is fluted like the original.  Before I take it apart--which makes me sad, but has to be done.

I wanted to photograph it as I received it, and pay attention to the details and size of the trim.

You can see in this photo light shows through the decayed fabric in vertical slices.

Here is a closer view of the decay.  The fabric is as brittle and crunchy as a fall leaf. 

The liner is falling away too.  This photo shows off its unique shape.

Thought I'd get a better photograph from the kitchen table.

Huh, I've never photograph the kitchen at this time of day.  I'm surprised--this is a good shot of the kitchen light fixture.  I've not been able to photograph its details before because I couldn't figure out how to photograph it shooting directly into the light. 

The kitchen light fixture was one of those bold choices for the kitchen back in 2008 when we first moved into the house, and after a year of work to re-do electrical, plumbing, and heating just to make the house liveable.  The house had been vacant for more than 3 decades. 

It started out--Mom and I went shopping for a light fixture for the kitchen.  We visited a store and there it was!  Ah-ha, and there was the price tag! (gulp).  We looked at many fixtures, and I always circled the aisles coming back to the same fixture over and over again.  We left the store with no purchase.

Returning to the same store with husband Jon.  I didn't say a word.  Like me, he seemed to follow an invisble beam directly to this light fixture.  He looked up and said, I like that one.  My heart nearly jumped out of my chest.  I said I love it too, but look at the price tag.  Jon reads my face like a book.  He said get it.  It really makes our old kitchen function well with plenty of light, and I love its look.  So glad we didn't give in to adding modern pot lights. 

In the background you can see the original built-in cupboard.  If you open the cupboard doors and drawers they make a complete pass-through between the kitchen and dining room.  I love the function of that.

Well, back to the old lampshade re-do

I've got a laundry-list of things to do today on the 4th of July.  Not one of them has anything to do with sitting in a lawn chair and watching fireworks.  Wish I could hide out in the sewing room to work on this lampshade, but I'll probably spend the cooler part of the morning painting the front porch steps (built Dep 2010).  
Thank goodness Jon has the day off.  He's going to finish building forms here at home for concrete pad behind the garage/art studio--making a pad for the spiral staircase installation.  Yes, Yes, it's true--a real staircase to the studio.  Good-bye aluminum ladder! I'm so tired of you.