Sewing Room Update 4-5-20

(I am writing this on Palm Sunday, but I won’t schedule it for posting until Tuesday. I’m hoping that by the time you read this I am moving things INTO my sewing room!)

When I last showed you my “easy” painting project, this is what the wall looked like:

Pink Room Wall 3-15-20

Thank God for my husband. He came in to see how I was progressing, and after noting the Reverse Spain on the wall, confirmed my fear… what I was actually chunking off was a plaster treatment that had been done on the plaster wall behind it. Our house was built in 1950 so these walls are all original. Back then they didn’t have drywall as we know it. Instead, they had a sort of plaster that was one step ahead of the older lath and horse hair plaster walls (which I’ve seen more than my fair share of in my lifetime!).

Jay asked me what I needed in order to help me with this project. Was there a special tool or device that would make it easier. I admitted that his help is really what I needed. You see, almost all of these projects I do myself. Jay will come in and help as needed (construction, destruction, electrical, etc), but for the most part I am the only one working on these projects.

When I got home from work the next day Jay was already in there chunking away at the wall and making all kinds of progress. Reverse Spain was turned into Greenland and there were other little spots of plaster still left on the wall. If it was stuck solidly on there we didn’t want to disturb it. I went and bought a bucket of drywall mud because we thought we might have to do a skim coat across this entire wall. Jay scored the corners so that the plaster topping couldn’t pull off of the other walls. It was decided that we definitely didn’t want to do this to the other three walls. We started by feathering the edges of the old plaster with the tinted plaster.

Sewing Room Wall Mudded

The yellow is the tinted top layer of plaster, the white is the original plaster wall. This wall was not pretty. There are all kinds of gouges and dimples in it. We tried to smooth them out the best that we could. Once this was dry we sanded it smooth and decided we wouldn’t skim coat the entire wall after all (so if anybody needs some drywall mud, let me know).

Jay also fixed that horrible patch above the heat register.

Sewing Room Heat Duct

Just so you know, he fixed it the correct way with a hunk of drywall and secured it in the spot. Then we used the mud to smooth it out and keep it in place. The other patch had been a mess of tape and mud. If anybody had knocked into it the patch would have collapsed. Also, I removed the heat register and bought a new white one.

As for the rest of the walls it was decided that I would do my best to remove the rest of the border, then we would take the palm sander and smooth down the edge where it met the paint.

Sewing Room Bear Border Gone

At this point I just wanted to get the room done.

We painted the ceiling and put a coat of primer on the walls.

Sewing Room Primer 1-1

That plaster really soaked up the paint. Which I completely expected, but I ended up running out and buying another gallon of primer.

Sewing Room Primer 1-2

Especially since that first coat didn’t cover the pink really well. If I was going to paint a darker color over it I would have just left it. However, knowing that I was going to put a white top coat made me decide to put a second coat of primer on for good measure.

Sewing Room Primer 2-2

You could still kind of see it, but not nearly like before.

Sewing Room Primer 2-1

I wanted to make sure the plaster was done soaking up paint before I used my paint. After all, I only had one gallon of this paint to use. Remember, I bought it for the bathroom closet, but had it tinted to a color that I was going to use for this room.

Now, because the walls are going to be white I wanted to add a little bit of sparkle (literally) to the wall. Originally I was going to paint it with the latex paint and then buy a Rustoleum product that was like a top coat with silver glitter in it. I had seen it at my local Wal-Mart, but of course when I went to buy it they had removed it from their planogram for that shelving. There was no way I was going to pay $26 for one quart and not have it be enough. Well, when you look it up on Amazon you also see this stuff called Hemway Glitter Paint Additive.

You add it to your paint and then it’s an all-in-one-step kind of deal. That sounded way better to me, so I ordered two bags of the Mother of Pearl color. I decided that an iridescent sparkle was my cup of tea.

The day came and I added both bags to my paint.

Sewing Room Paint 1-1

This picture is a bit dark, but you can tell that my walls are just a few shades darker than the bright white ceiling.

Sewing Room Paint 1-2

After doing one coat of paint I realized that I had missed some spots. To be fair, it’s hard to see where you’ve painted when you’re painting with white paint on top of white primer. I went back and did a second coat on this wall and touched up spots on the other walls.

Sewing Room Paint 2-1

The color doesn’t bother me because it’s not a sterile white. I was, however, disappointed in the sparkle. Now, I didn’t want an IN-YOUR-FACE kind of glitter, but I wanted it to be visible when the light hit it. When I was growing up my parents had sprayed our living room ceiling with a thinned-out drywall mud and tiny pieces of glass so when the lights were on you saw the sparkle. It was really pretty at Christmas.

Anyway, this was all the sparkle I could really see (and get a picture of):

Sewing Room Paint Up Close 1

Can’t really see it, can you? In person if you moved just right you would catch a sparkle here and there. I thought about it and decided that I could be happy with it as is. Or so I thought. Then I remembered reading in the reviews that when you buff it the sparkle comes out even more. So I grabbed a sponge that had the scrubbie stuff on one side.. and proceeded to rub a blue hue onto my white wall. After using a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser (which I LOVE), I decided to order the buffing pads that the glitter company sells. They arrived in the mail yesterday so I tried them out.

Sewing Room Paint Buffing 1

It was like magic!! And it makes sense. You dump this glitter in the paint and somehow you expect that it’s going to land on the top side of the wall clean enough to pick up and reflect light? That’s not how it works. You have to clean the paint off of the glitter.

Sewing Room Paint Buffing 2

Those stupid little buffing pads completely made this entire sewing room. Walking into the room with the light glinting off the walls makes me smile so much.

With the walls done I needed to turn to the trim. I had decided I was going to paint it in place because I didn’t want to pull it off the walls to refinish. Then I started cleaning it up by removing the old paint drips and sanding it down.

Sewing Room Trim Cleaning 1

I started with that base board. It peeled so nicely. Then I moved to the window.

I didn’t show you this, but the previous people hadn’t even removed the blinds when they painted the window casing. They just had them pulled all the way up!

Sewing Room Paint Job

Why would you do that?? Needless to say, they will come down before I start to paint this window. And um… I made a mess.

Sewing Room Trim Cleaning 2

This was the best picture I could get of it. The other side looks about the same. The paint peeled right off of the varnish below it. You could see that they hadn’t even sanded the window frame before painting it. How it didn’t chip before now, I have no idea.

So then I had a quandry… Seeing the beautiful wood made me REALLY not want to paint it. Yet, I feared what would happen if Jay started to pull the trim off considering the walls are already painted and I only have an inch of the paint left in the can. Not to mention that this trim is original to the house, so it’s old varnish, which means it’s going to be extra-stubborn to remove. That was actually the clincher for me right there. Knowing that I would spend at least a week trying to clean the paint and old varnish off of this trim, then spend another week putting coats of finish on it… No.. I can’t do that right now. So it’s going to be painted. End of story.

In the meantime, I’ve had help on this leg of the project. When I’m not running anything noisy Bob has been perched on his cushioned tote to supervise.

Sewing Room Supervisor's Perch

And of course, Mama indulges him by moving the tote around to keep it in the patch of sun as it moves across the floor.

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Project Linus Blanket #31

Project Linus Blanket #31:

Project Linus Blanket #31 3-29-20 - Baby Elephant

“Baby Elephant”

I don’t know why, but this reminded me of a baby elephant so that’s why I chose this name. Maybe it’s because in the Disney cartoon “Dumbo” he had blue eyes and that’s what I think of when I hear the name Dumbo. Anyway…

This blanket comes from a downloadable book that can be found at Annie’s:

LapThrows for the Family

This was the Misty Morning lap throw.

I made this blanket because my sister is trying to crochet this same blanket, but is having some difficulties. She lives a few states away so it’s not like she can get help from me or my mom easily. I decided the best way to help her would be to record myself crocheting the blanket and giving tips while doing it. Obviously this is a copyrighted pattern, so I bought a copy of the booklet and the video I recorded will never be made public. However, it’s a resource that my sister can use whenever she has a moment to sit down and work on it.

Project Linus Blanket #31 - Detail

Front and back post crochet stitches can be tricky, and I think that’s what she was having the hardest time trying to make.

Other than the blanket I have also made a few hats.

Hats #5 thru #9.

Crocheted Hats 5-9

I made a few of the beanie style and two of the ribbed hats.

Crocheted Hat #5 & #9

Crocheted Hats #6-8

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DIY Hot Wire Cutter

Jay has been working on his latest N Scale Model Railroad layout. He had laid out the track and started to work on the scenery. Then he ran into an issue.

Hot Wire Cutter 5

He had glued pieces of Styrofoam in order to model a hill with cut-outs for the track. It will eventually be painted green… no winter scenes in this house! I tried talking him into turning the support pole into a UFO tractor beam with little cows glued to it and a pie pan at the top for the saucer, but that idea was vetoed. Anyway, back to Jay’s problem. You can see where he started to shape the hill with the tools that he has on hand.

Hot Wire Cutter 1

If you’ve ever tried to cut Styrofoam then you know the mess he was creating with this method. He could have purchased a hot wire tool that is made specifically for cutting foam. You can find them on Amazon for around $20.

This is Jay, though, so why do something as easy as buying a foam cutter when you can make your own? Okay, to be fair not everybody has the equipment on hand that will allow them to make their own foam cutter. Jay, however, happens to have a battery charger that he uses for his model airplane batteries that also has a foam cutter mode on it. I don’t know much about it. All I can tell you is that it’s an iCharger battery charger. Jay absolutely loves it for charging batteries and now he loves it for cutting foam.

He used SketchUp to draw the handle for his wire cutter.

Hot Wire Cutter 2

Then he sent the code over to the CNC Router to cut it out of some plywood that he had on hand.

Hot Wire Cutter 3

Jay’s philosophy is that if you have the machines… you should use them. So he did.

A few more modifications and he was ready to roll.

Hot Wire Cutter 4

I was called down to see what he made and to take pictures.

Hot Wire Cutter 6

This is for scale so you can see how big he made it. I can’t recall what gauge wire he used. I want to say 26. If that’s not right I know it was somewhere in that size range.

Let’s see how it works…

Hot Wire Cutter 7

Hot Wire Cutter 8

Hot Wire Cutter 9

That worked quite nicely!

After the first cut Jay moved on to the rest of the hill.

Hot Wire Cutter 10

This was MUCH cleaner than the cutting tool method he started to use.

Hot Wire Cutter 13

It worked really well, but he did make a smaller version. Also, the hot wire did burn the wood where it wrapped around the bow.

Hot Wire Cutter 12

It worked nicely, though, and enabled him to use equipment that had just been sitting idle for a few years. There was one last step, however. It had to pass inspection.

Hot Wire Cutter 14

Bob looked it over. He passed his paw over it. He asked Jay a few questions about technique and structure. Bob is a really good inspector because his face didn’t betray what his thoughts were as he listened to Jay’s answers. In the end, though, Bob gave it his lick of approval. Good job, Jay!

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Project Linus Blanket #30 – Carrot Patch

Project Linus Blanket #30

Project Linus Blanket #30 3-25-20 - Carrot

“Carrot Patch”

This blanket was so quick and easy! It’s not my usual ripple blanket. This time I used a different pattern because I wasn’t sure about the yarn. I had originally planned on using it for a ripple blanket, but the yarn that I bought to go with it was a #4 and it’s a #3. I knew that combining the two in a ripple was not going to look right. That’s when I came across Creative Grandma’s latest crochet blanket tutorial on YouTube. She uses the same yarn in a different color and I really liked the look. It’s the easiest stitch, too. The hardest part was keeping track of your rows, but that’s made very easy with a stitch counter.

Project Linus Blanket #30 Yarn

The orange variegated color is Ice Yarn’s Magic Light in the color Yellow-Orange-Red. I purchased this color because you don’t often find these different shades of orange. At least, not in yarn. When I was in high school I had a friend who LOVED orange and his aunt made him an afghan that he loved. My hope is that there’s a boy out there who also loves orange and will love this blanket. The Magic Light is a very soft yarn so it feels nice against your skin. This yarn is a 3.53 oz skein and you have to purchase it in packages of four. I had bought two packages and ended up using five skeins for this blanket.

Project Linus Blanket #30 Detail

I didn’t end up using the border that Glenda (Creative Grandma) used on her blanket because I wanted to use the crochet border book that Jay had given me for Christmas. It’s the “Every Which Way Crochet Borders: 139 Patterns for Customized Edgings” by Edie Eckman. I chose border #55 because it was wide and not very lacy. I ended up using an entire skein of Hobby Lobby’s I Love This Yarn in the color Limelight.

I really enjoyed working on this blanket and I hope it brings a lot of comfort to some little boy who will wear it out with love.

I’ve already packed my bag for the next blanket, another ripple, and had some supervision.

Bob Helping with a Blanket

What would I do without the help? ❤


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Another N Scale RR Layout

As I was gearing up to start my Sewing Room project Jay and I were discussing his birthday and the recent train show that he attended. He had helpfully circled various cars that he wouldn’t mind receiving for his birthday on a pamphlet that he had received with a purchase of some tank cars (I think).

If you remember, Jay had started to create a layout a few years ago…

Train Layout - Farm Area - 5-7-16

… until the woodworking tools became too much to have in the same space. That’s when the model railroad got packed away.

As we were talking Jay mentioned that he would like to maybe build a smaller layout that he could work on, but that was small enough that it could be put away when not in use. I thought maybe he could just redo the coffee table layout.

Train Coffee Table

Apparently that was too small.

Unlike some wives, I still love my husband and try to support him as much as I can. After all, he very rarely puts his foot down when it comes to anything I want to do. I have my sewing stuff, crocheting stuff, cross stitching stuff, my giant library of Civil War books and my baby grand piano. I am indulged.

Jay’s hobbies take up a lot more room. Thus the reason for the Airplane Lean-To.

Lean-To Doors 11-5-19

Our house is not humongous, but if you work with what you have then you can usually find a solution to your space problem. That’s when it hit me.

There is a spot in front of my work table in the basement that essentially collects junk. And airplanes.

Basement Catch-All 3-3-20

I asked if this area would be big enough for the small layout he has in mind.

Apparently it was because the next day this area looked like this:

Basement Catch-All 3-4-20

The day after that I went down and found this:

Basement Catch-All 3-5-20

It’s amazing how quickly an area can get cleaned up when there’s motivation behind it. One caveat was that Jay had to put a pipe up on the other side of the basement so that I could hang my clothes when doing laundry. Up to this point I had hung them in this area. It was only a day or so before there was room on the other side, too.

Battery Area 3-5-20

The area was quickly cleared and a framework for the layout appeared.

2020Layout Benchwork 3-7-20

(Please note that there is still an A-4 on my work table…)

This layout will not be able to be disassembled because it’s built right around one of the supporting posts. We just have to figure out how to incorporate it into the layout.

2020Layout 3-7-20

This entire table was built using scraps that Jay had laying around the basement, so it was a good project in that respect, too!

He rounded off the edges so that I wouldn’t poke my eye out (yes, I could definitely manage that if you let me).

2020Layout Shaping Lines 3-7-20

All of the buildings, track, and cars were hauled out of their storage containers and displayed for inspiration.

2020Layout- Track 3-13-20

I haven’t been working on this with him because I’ve been eye-ball deep in my own projects. He has been watching YouTube videos to better learn how to paint the buildings and work on scenery. It’s more than just the trains for him this time.

2020Layout - Painting Buildings 3-13-20

I think that he’s doing a great job. As he makes more progress I’ll be sure to post more pictures.

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Machining for the CNC Router Part 2

The last post ended with visions of pull tabs dancing in our heads.

MachinedCNC 2-12

As we travel along the work bench we come upon a strange grouping.

MachinedCNC 2-13

What could this mean? It must be a new style of puzzle. Remember when the 3D puzzles came out and were all the rage? This is the new Machining puzzle. The instructions say, “Here are your parts. Good luck.” Without any clue as to what it was suppose to be, Jay would easily be able to put it all together and have it functioning without an issue. Let’s see if he did that in this case.

MachinedCNC 2-14

I was going to say, “So far, so good” but if I’m honest this could be completely wrong and I would have no clue. I know that he’s using linear bearings. They are the little flat green gum packs.

MachinedCNC 2-15

It appears that we’ve created a linear bearing sandwich.

MachinedCNC 2-16

Did we change our mind and give it wings instead? I sure hope you know what’s happening because I’m completely lost. I’m looking for the sign alongside the road that tells me what number to call for assistance.

MachinedCNC 2-17

Yes, yes… obviously… I mean, who didn’t know that?

MachinedCNC 2-18

We are back to the winged plate. Oh, I see! We have inserted a drive shaft of some sort.

MachinedCNC 2-19

And we have attached the motor that will drive said shaft.

MachinedCNC 2-20


MachinedCNC 2-21

“I see!” said the blind man as he picked up his hammer and saw.

MachinedCNC 2-22

Not only do we have the carriage with the spindle, but you can see all of the hand-machined plastic wheels. Oh, and the end plates that Jay also machined.

MachinedCNC 2-23

It appears as if all of the machined parts are assembled. Now we need some nerves to bring it to life.

MachinedCNC 2-24

There are the spindle mounts that started this entire project.

MachinedCNC 2-25

And then we have this… thing.

MachinedCNC 2-26

Ah! Wheelpants for the carriage wheels.

MachinedCNC 2-27

This style of wheelpant is more aerodynamic.

MachinedCNC 2-28

You know, I’m tired of having to tell you everything. I’m going to let you just look for yourself. Try being self-sufficient for once!

MachinedCNC 2-29

MachinedCNC 2-30

MachinedCNC 2-31

MachinedCNC 2-32

MachinedCNC 2-33

It works! Yippee!

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The Great Migration…

Maybe I should have titled that ‘The Great Migraine-tion’. If you’re a home owner, or have been one in the past, then you know that every little “easy” project you take on very quickly becomes a giant monster that eats away at your very soul. I had one of those recently in the form of my bathroom closet.

My most recent home project was to move my sewing room downstairs. That shouldn’t be too difficult, right? HA!

In order to accomplish this I had to remove the sewing room things…

Fleet of Sewing Machines - 6-25-16

…to make room for the Office things…

Office 1-9-20

… so that we could move the Spare Room upstairs.

Pink Room 1-9-20

The first part was easy.

Old Sewing Space 3-3-20

I emptied out most of the sewing room things into the living room.

Sewing Room Contents 3-3-20

(a few more things have been added to this pile since the picture was taken)

Then I moved the office stuff into its new location.

New Office Area 3-13-20

Then came the hardest part… moving the full bed up the very narrow stairs.

But due to my resourceful husband (who soldiered on despite a moment of frustration and tears on my part), we managed to move the furniture into the room.

New Spare Room 3-13-20

(Just don’t sit up in bed)

New Spare Room Door 3-13-20

(That is my crochet mess out in the other room, which will be organized *cough* once I get the sewing room finished.)

That left the Pink Room empty (mostly).

Pink Room 3-13-20

Pink Room 2 3-13-20

Pink Room 3 3-13-20

Jay asked if I was going to refinish the floor, but I said no. The floor is a beautiful oak, but it leaks out into the hallway and into our bedroom. If I only refinished the sewing room floor I would then be irritated that the rest of the floor didn’t look as beautiful (since you would be able to see where we stopped), and then I would have to redo those floors… and the library floor and living room floor… I don’t have that kind of time!

I want to get my sewing room set up so that I can begin sewing again. I already have about six projects lined up in my head that I’m itching to start. So the plan was to pull down the Tinkerbell border at the top of the wall, clean up whatever spots might need it, and then paint. I should have it all done by the end of the weekend.

I had to run errands Saturday morning, so I didn’t get started until Saturday afternoon. No problem. I could get it prepped and then paint it after church on Sunday.

I ripped off the Tinkerbell border to find this:

Pink Room - Bear Border 3-14-20

What the…. ???!!! *bad curse words being said*

Was this just a border or was it wallpaper? One way that you can usually tell is by taking a look around your outlets. I found one that would more than likely have everything beneath the pink paint well preserved.

Pink Room- Painted Outlet 3-14-20

Apparently the last home owners decided that removing outlet covers before painting was too time consuming. I ended up having to get a razor blade to cut the paint so I could remove the cover. When I did that, I really wasn’t sure what I was looking at in the way of wall layers. Was it paper? Was it just really thick paint? It was hard to tell.

Looking back up at the teddy bear border I could see an outline beneath the pink paint, so I was pretty sure that it was just a border. Nothing else. However, their paint jobs in this house did NOT impress me at all.

Pink Room - Heat Register

I’m guessing they started out with a different shade of pink and realized it would be way too dark for the room. When they switched to the lighter shade they decided that painting up close to things was much too difficult and time consuming as well. This way they only had to use the roller that they were using on the rest of the wall.

Which also brings me to the trim. This house is full of beautiful oak trim… that the stupid people painted!!!

Pink Room Trim

I really don’t want to paint it again (especially since their paint job is so horrendous and won’t be covered up nicely), yet I really don’t want to end up with a paint-stripping project on top of everything else. I just want to paint the walls and get my sewing room in place.

Back to the border…

Pink Room - Bear Border 3-14-20

Can you see the white paper that was left behind from the Tinkerbell border? That happened every where they had painted over the teddy bear border. The TB border is vinyl so the top layer peeled off nicely. I knew that I couldn’t spray it with vinegar water to loosen it as the liquid wouldn’t be able to penetrate it, so I asked Jay if I could borrow his heat gun.

With the heat gun and my putty knife I started in on the task. The border was starting to come off! But so were the other layers. These walls are all plaster and I’m thinking that they weren’t properly prepared before paint was added because it seems that the paint has decided it doesn’t want to stick any more. You guys… after four and a half hours of working in this room I ended the day like this:

Pink Room Wall 3-15-20


I haven’t even cleaned off one wall! When the paint started to peel off it was in a big enough piece that I couldn’t just leave it. I thought about using some drywall mud to maybe just feather it in, but I also don’t want it to end up looking horrible. I mean, I already have a patch to fix:

Pink Room Wall Patch

I don’t know what happened there, but I do know that they SUCKED at any of the basic home ownership tasks. The other thing that I wondered about with this wall is I think that I am stripping off wallpaper, too. I can’t be sure. The swipes that you see on the wall that look like marks made in plaster aren’t actually on the plaster wall itself. The texture peels off when I pull the layers off. So I don’t know if it was a decorative painting technique that was used, or if it was a textured paper that they put up and then painted.

All I know is that I’m going to be working on this room for the next six years. *sigh*

Why couldn’t it have been easy? Why do I have to care so much that things are done correctly? Why can’t I just throw some paint on the wall and then let the next owner deal with fixing the problems?

I don’t enjoy these kinds of projects. I do them because a) I’m cheap and I don’t want to hire it done and b) the times we’ve hired something like this done I have NOT been happy with the results. I know how to do this stuff because I helped my parents do it when I was growing up. So I delay gratification a lot longer so that I can do the job and get it done to my specifications. That way I won’t hate spending time in the room looking at a wall that looks like crap.

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