Friday, December 18, 2009

Casings & Cornice

A few weeks ago I wrote about stripping and refinishing some painted door casings. I posted a photo of the white-painted casings next to our laundry closet door. Below is the door after I removed the casings.

At the same time, I removed the painted casings to the door into the second floor den/guestroom.

After stripping the paint and sanding out the remaining paint, I stained and poly'd them. Pictured below is the finished product.

I also made significant ground on the other project, the tin-ceiling cornice installation.

I'm not done yet, as I am 2 pieces shy of having enough to finish. It turns out when measuring I probably used the actual wall/cabinet measurements and didn't account for the 5.25 inches of overhang on any exterior corner, and also I had to line up the seams in the cornice pieces with the seams on the ceiling, which resulted in me needing to cut-off somewhere between 1 and 6 inches on every corner. It was a challenge nailing into the hardwood cabinets, even after drilling pilot holes, but I didn't end up destroying any pieces so I am fortunate. I think I will take a break and just enjoy it over the Holidays!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Tackling the tin ceiling crown molding

Below is our kitchen ceiling. We installed the tin ceiling, lets say, 2 years ago, before the rest of the kitchen was installed. After the flooring, cabinets, counters, paint and trim were installed, we still had to install the crown molding. This, quite frankly, scared the heck outta me, since 1. I've neve installed molding and have no experience with mitering/coping, and 2. the molding is thin-thin-thin metal, meaning it the pieces don't join in a tight seam, it could look pretty poor. Oh and 3. Since it has to mate with the tin ceiling, if I don't get it flush you will see a gap and it will look crappy. So, for the last 16 months I have put it off. But a sudden burst of courage and I decided to take it on.

We purchased the cornice pieces at the same time we bought the ceiling pieces and thankfully did not destroy them during the past 2+ years. Armed with all the installation instructions I could find on the internet and a power-miter saw borrowed from old friends, I was equiped to do the job. Now, to see if I could actually do it.

And below you have section #1. Honestly can't believe how well it is coming out. Not claiming it's perfect, but over-all, quite happy with it so far.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Return of the Street Trees

Over the summer we blogged about how the city cut down all of the street trees across from our house. Well, with the support of our local neighborhood association and our own tenacity, the city agreed to plant new trees "in the fall." After being reminded that fall was fully underway, the city actually did it. The dwarf pear trees pictured below were planted yesterday. Dwarf pears should not grow tall enought to interefere with the electrical wires. As an added bonus, the city planted a total of 9 trees, whereas there had been only 6 on that side of the street.

I'm glad the city followed through and I only hope I'm around to see the trees full-grown!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Strippin' is hard work.

No, no pictures of g-strings and pole-dancing in this post. Just pictures of the upstairs door casings. In our environmental furvor, we used all the salvage wood we could during the renovation. This resulted in us using 6 door casings (12 boards in total) which had been painted. Below is an example.

So, I pried-off one of the casings and sanded it down, stained it and poly'd it. HUGE pain in the butt, as the paint was applied to unfinished wood so it sank into the grain. Getting it out I gouged the board, but not so badly that I had to replace it. Still, hoping to save some time, I looked at the local architectural salvage yard for unpainted pieces with the same profile, but no luck. Then I called a refinisher for a quote on dip-stripping the pieces. At nearly $30 per board, I could probably get new ones milled for that price. So, I bought some stripper from the local hardware store and tried the second board using the stripper. While messy, it was much easier than sanding out all the paint. Below shows the refinished casings on both sides of the door.

It is exciting, as both casings shown above were painted light-blue as of last week. 2 down, 10 to go...

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Tiny Canary application images

When it's slow we hijack the houseblog for alternate purposes. I'm going to do that right now as the fine folks at Tiny Canary (a fab local craft show) requested a weblink to view images of submitting artists' work. Apologies to regular readers for your house update interruption.

I've been "professionally crafting" since 1996 when I owned & operated Transformations, a gallery on High Street (where Lindsay Gallery is now) for 5 years. There I wildy painted and decoupaged vintage furniture to my heart's content. When I closed the gallery in 2001 I segwayed into smaller projects with the same spirit that I sold at places like ComFest, Yellow Springs Street Fair and Craftin' Outlaws (and, hopefully in a shared booth this year at Tiny Canary with Clinton Reno).

The majority of my work focuses around a few themes near and dear to my heart: the Short North (using my own photographic images), scooters (using my own and found images), comics (using strictly found, never copied images), and most recently, collaborative projects with my neighbor/pal/awesome graphic designer Clinton Reno. With images supporting these themes I create pendants, buttons, magnets, coasters, belt buckles and mirrors.

First sample, pendants. I make square ($8 each, 2/$15) and rectangular pendants ($12 each) decoupaged on glass tiles, decorated with different images on both sides, coated with a durable resin for protection and waterproofing and finished with sterling silver plated aanraku bails. The rectangular pendant pictured below features an amalgamation of 6 separate images layered for the final effect. Many of my rectangular pendants are patchwork designs:
The square pendants are not quite as elaborate as most feature a single image. Images include Short North photos (from my own collection), comic images (found), scooter images (found and my own), Clinton Reno images, and a small collection of found image pendants.
I discovered this trellis in my friend's backyard and it makes the perfect compact pendant display accomodating all of my square and rectangular pendants (as seen at ComFest):
I'm always in awe of how many buttons folks buy. I make comic, scooter-themed and silly celebrity buttons ($2 each, 3/$5- though only the comic and scooter would be at TC):
One of my signature items is Short North magnets ($5 each). I've sold these for seven years. The photos are always evolving with the neighborhood and this year I started combining 4 mini images on these 2"x2" tiles so people get more of the places they love on their little squares:
The tile magnets are typically displayed on an old metal fridge door (space permitting) that I found, where else, in the Short North when somebody was gutting an apartment!
Clinton Reno is a fabulous graphic designer and friend. We started collaborating on projects last year. His images make outstanding coasters ($8 each, 2/$15):
I also make Short North coasters (from my photos) and comic coasters from found images (the Wonder Woman series is especially popular):
My coasters are typically displayed on a small bookshelf which can accomodate a range of them:
Last year I discovered the joy of making belt buckles ($25-40) and can regularly be spotted sporting one of my own creations. These stick to 3 themes: the Short North, comics and scooters. The odd display is actually a baguette baking pan:
Finally, one of my other signature and most recognizable items is my collection of Short North mirrors ($35 each). A half-dozen of these fit on a small tabletop display:
Thanks for considering the joint Martineau-Reno application. I've submitted bunches of options of my work for consideration but will likely pare down the final offering as necessary according to space constraints. I hope we make the final cut!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

The only original window left

Below is the door to our basement. Many decades ago it used to lead to the front porch. The transom window is the only original window left in the house. As you can see, the window had been painted along with the door jam.
On Saturday I scraped the paint on the edge of the door jam and also removed the transom window. It had been nailed shut, so it was no easy task. After removing the transom I scraped off the multiple layers of paint, sanded it, and stained it to match the door casings. I cleaned and scraped the glass as well, though only on the 1 side. Since it looks out on our basement stairs, I wanted to keep the it opaque. While I do have to still polyurethane it, and also add a latch since it now will hang open, I am quite happy with the results of my 1/2 day project.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Summer Update

Summer is winding down and for the most part we have kept busy with non-house related activities. One of those activities was hanging a hammock in our back yard. It has been quite peaceful to sit out there and read. So peaceful and quiet, that the wildlife which surrounds the house can be totally unaware that someone is suspended in a hammock 5 feet away. Take this groundhog for instance.
He wandered UNDER the hammock and around the yard one night in June. Amazed, I snapped this picture and quietly called Mary on my cell phone and told her about the groundhog in the back yard. Which turned out to be a bad idea: y'see, Mary came to check it out. And where Mary goes, so goes Bogart, our dog. Mary grabbed the screen door handle to prevent Bogart from going into the yard... but he's 70+ lbs, and the screen door is pretty flexible. So BANG! Bogart is out the back door and chasing the groundhog as it desperately runs to the back gate.

So, how thin do you think groundhogs can compress their bodies to get under a fence gate? You'd be amazed. There might be 3 inches of clearance under our gate, and after I grab Bogart so the groundhog doesn't hurt him (Bogart's big, but not tough!), the groundhog flattens himself and squeezes under the fence. I couldn't believe it.

Anyway, just thought I'd keep everyone informed about the wild animal adventures at our new home.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Before and After the City & Battelle cut down the trees

If you want to get an idea of how 3rd Ave looked before the city, at the request of Battelle's contractors, wiped out all the trees on the north side of 3rd between Perry and the river, go to Google Maps and put in 328 W. 3rd Ave., Columbus, OH. Rotate the image until you are looking West.

Now, compare with the picture below, taken 10 minutes ago.

I may not be able to stop it, but I sure won't be happy (or quiet) about it...

If, like me you enjoyed the early spring drive down West Third Avenue between Perry and Olentangy River Road and the gorgeous pear trees in bloom:The lovely view out our living room window as a case in point:

Then perhaps you will join me in mourning the loss of "our" trees this morning to a city/Batelle sidewalk repair project. From inside our house early this morning we heard lots of "landcaping" or yard work sounding noise, but did not bother ot investigate. When Eric walked out on the front porch to take his bike to work we determined the source of the sounds:

City of Columbus workers were (are as I type) chainsawing down the trees and tossing them in a (very loud) chipper. It seemed fundamentally wrong to be so (in my opinion) carelessly cutting down what I imagine are 20 year old arbors. We'd noticed last week that the concrete was torn our next to each tree and they were marked with blue "x"es. "Our" tree before 10 a.m.:

I put in a couple phone calls to the mayor's action hotline when we noticed last week but did not receive a response. I guess I got one this morning. I immediately placed calls to everyone I could think of who might be able to help/provide answers: a couple people in the mayor's office who live in Harrison West and the president of the Harrison West Society. The tree-felling gentlemen were kind enough to cease and desist at the tree in front of our house until I could get some answers. I spoke to several individuals at the Recreation and Parks Department Forestry Division from the receptionist to leaving messages for the Head Forester and several others.
Ultimately it came down to said explanation (bear with me as I'm an amateur): the utilities topped off the trees badly last year (that was evident in their lopsidedness, but they otherwise appeared healthy so I'm lost as to how this is a factor in the tree's demise); the "property owner" (presumably Battelle) is required to maintain the sidewalks and the tree roots were interfering with the sidewalk concrete; the "property owner" hired a contractor to replace the sidewalk sections in question; contractor determines that the tree roots need to be ground down/cut for level sidewalks; it is feared that once the roots are cut the pear trees will die anyways so the City is removing the pear trees.
Alas, the tree "after" 10 a.m.:

My frantic calls this morning were only good enough to stave off the action for about 1/2 an hour. They did get me a conversation with Alan McKnight, head of Columbus Recreation and Parks Division. He said he would "work with the community" to get the trees replaced but could offer no timeline for this to happen (and with the current budget crisis forgive me if I'm not holding my breath). It also warranted a visit to my front door by Jim Long (I'm just guessing here as his shirt was embroidered with "Jim" and that was one of the individuals I was attempting to contact) that was merely the signal that the work was about to resume. Jim kindly explained that it was "necessary" to remove the trees as once the roots were cut (and the roots had not been touched yet) the trees would likely die. Just moving on down the line:

All of this is supposedly happening at the request of the "property owner's contractor" and has the approval of the Columbus Division of Forestry. Mr. Long's repeated use of the phrase "it's the cost of doing business" did very little to quell my dismay at losing a row of 6 beautiful mature trees. According to "Jim", supposedly the City would be willing to replace the trees. Supposedly they could do so without the permission of the "property owner" as the City technically owns the right of way. He says this to make me feel better before outrightly admitting that the city would not do so without the approval of the property owner as the care of new trees requires lots of watering, etc. that the City would expect said property owner to assume.
The chipper makes quick work of 20 year old trees:
During my multiple conversations with City representatives I inquire how it is possible that the City would just come in and clear cut a row of trees in a neighborhood with an active Harrison West Society and a neighborhood action plan that includes little details like, you know, mature trees lining the streets. Both representatives reinforced that the notion that the City would bother to inform neighborhood groups of actions like tree removal just wasn't going to happen (but we weren't talking ONE sick tree here people- you just took out an avenue's worth). And by 11 a.m. it was done. 120 years worth of tree growth systematically removed by the City "as the cost of doing business". Do me a favor, call Alan McKnight and ask him when we get "our" trees back. He can be reached at 645-3310.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

ComFest is coming! New merch includes coasters with Ohio rocks image!

ComFest is now just days away and I've been working my little fingers to the bone to create an inventory worthy of my favorite event. This year's stock includes:

Short North themed items including: mirrors, coasters and magnets (2 types this time!) Comic character items including: coasters, magnets and buttons

Buttons galore! Comic buttons, celebrity buttons (does this make them ironic?), scooter buttons and more!

Sooo many magnets: bottle cap magnets, bubble magnets, button magnets

Clinton Reno collaborations: Ohio Rocks!* And Ohio wine coasters and pendants

And one of my newest additions, pendants! Short North pendants, scooter pendants, comic pendants, artsy pendants and, of course, pendants featuring snippets of artwork by Clinton Reno!I fell into the COOLEST display for the pendants hanging out in our friend's back yard drinking wine. (We'll call him Lex). In the corner of the yard was this trellis that looked just the right size to hang my mini-artwork. He was kind enough to lend it to me (kinder still to lug it out to the van even) and VOILA! I'm loving it! YELLOW SPRINGS CLEARANCE: since I've given up on the Yellow Springs Street Fair (I still love you Yellow Springs, but your $165 entry fee is just too rich for my blood and I'm afraid the quality of your vendors has declined)...there will be HUGE DISCOUNTS on all Yellow Springs merch including mirrors (reg. $35 now $10), coasters (reg. $8 each now $3 each and 4/$10), and magnets (reg. $5 each now $2 each and 3/$5)! So if you love YS come get some great deals!
Hope to see you at ComFest. Anne of Wish Art Glass and I will be in our usual spot on the park side of Park Street about 12 booths or so north of the main park entrance. Look for the Wish flag flying over our booth. Brother Michael will be our worker bee for the weekend (fondly known as Baby Martineau to some of you) so stop by and say "Hi!" And for goodness sake bring us a beer!

*Ohio Rocks! is by no means any sort of (our) registered trademark, it's merely how we casually refer to this image created by my graphic designer friend.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Tearing out the last of the Chain-link fence

2+ years after we purchased the house, we have completely rid the property of the old chain-link fencing. Below is a shot of the last remaining panel as of yesterday morning, 8am. I had already removed the panel & post that went down the hill to the sidewalk.

By 9am I had removed the actual fencing and the post at the top of the hill. As that post was at the top of the hill, I could just dig into the hill to reach the concrete and then pull it out. Mighty heavy, but it didn't require my usual technique: the sledge-hammer. Seriously, provided you don't need to be certain of getting all of the concrete base out, a sledge hammer works wonders. Dig around the post base some, then wail away. It will either loosen up the whole post so you can pull it and its base up, or it will crack the concrete base so you can pull up the post itself. OK, so it's not quiet, and it does dent the posts so they aren't very usable, but I doubt many people plan on re-using old chain-link posts.

After Mary and I hammered this last post into sumbission, we sank the new fence brackets and BAM! We have a new front fence and are 100% chain-link free.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Fencing on the cheap

On a trip to Lowe's yesterday Mary saw some metal fence panels which resemble the vintage wroght-iron we have across our front yard. It's not a perfect match, but the tines profile is the same, and it has gates, too! $300+ later, we had purchased enough panels and gates to enclose our front yard, meaning we can sit out there with the dogs and not worry about them making a dash to the park across the street!

The only new part in the photo below is the gate, which blends in nicely.

On the left is the antique fencing, and from the gate to the right is the new.

We still have to complete the west side of the yard, but that will entail removing a stretch of old chain-link fence and posts and also drilling into concrete, so that will have to be done another day!

Summer Push

I put together a list of projects which I hope to complete before summer. One of those is to bury the gutter drain line which lays across our walkway around the house and across our yard to the hill in front. This is not as simple as grabbing a shovel, since the gutter downspout is above our concrete walkway and I have to get beneath a 6 foot stretch of concrete walkway.

So below shows the story in pictures. Using a concrete blade on the ciruclar saw, I cut the one large concrete piece in half (so each was light enough to move...with help... barely). Then cut a notch for the drain pipe. Then dig, dig, dig. Oh, since I was under there I also dug out an extension of the French drain I ran up to the concrete walk.

Once done digging, I laid new drain pipe out the the edge of the hill. Backfill with gravel and move the ungodly heavy concrete back into place and done!

Gone batty

Below was a small project from last week. We have a Bat House! Being so close to the river, our neighborhood has more than a fair amount of mesquitos. We see a decent number of bats at night, so I thought I'd put out the welcome mat for our flying friends with the hope they will do what they do: eat hundreds of mesquitos every night. Using a plan I picked-up from the Ohio Dept. of Natural Resources, I built it and mounted it to the back of our shed. Cross your fingers that some bats move in!