Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Finish Plaster!

From This....

And This.....


On the left is the wall that's been done, on the right, a wall with basecoat Structo-lite (Gypsum plaster)

I've been hard at work for six days straight, while Ella has been at day camp. I knew that I wouldn't finish the job, but that I could definitely move the bedroom project a lot farther forward. And how!

Last Wednesday, the first day of camp, I still had some sanding to do as prep, and even some mudding to do, to fill in some gaps in the wall. Thursday, I primed drywall mud with a transitional primer, to prevent variance in color with the final coats of plaster. Friday, I used the "sanded primer", which is basically glue and sand, and it goes on under the clay, so that it will stick, especially to a drywall surface. Also on Friday, Drew and I put the second base-coat of Structo-lite on the south wall.

Saturday was a nice day off, celebrating Adam and Unity's wedding. Blessings to them and their family! We went swimming too, and followed it with a lot of merriment at our wedding site, eating dinner, and dancing the night away to Absynth Quintet.

Sunday was back to it, with more drywall priming, and we mixed up our first batch of clay. It needs to stand a little while, so I mixed it for work the following day. And yesterday, Monday! I got to smear that lovely, smooth, buttery plaster on the east wall of our bedroom. It is a pleasure to work with. The color when it's wet is like chocolate milk, and when dry, it's a light light neutral brown. It's called Nantucket Sand. Today, I put on the first coat on the south wall, and after I finish my lunch here, I'm going to continue around the hallway. It looks awesome!

The clay does require a second coat, but I'm not concerned. The work is fun and easy, and SOOO satisfying. Once we finish this step, it's on to sanding/cleaning the floor and staining it, and then wood trim, and then our bedroom is DONE. I said DONE, as in, we can move our bed into it! Yippee!!! (Can you tell I'm excited?

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Windowsills of 2x12 recycled redwood

Ceiling wood finished, love it. Stained Fir/Pine/Spruce

We're getting somewhere. Slowly. These things, as we've discovered, take time. Lots of it. I've lately taken to quoting Sarah McLachlan, with her album title, "Fumbling Toward Ecstacy". Yeah. So we've finished the ceiling in our future bedroom. And we've finished three of four windowsills. Sexy oiled redwood next to oiled pine. I love how it looks. And now we're ready for plaster on several walls, and all the materials are on hand, and Ella is a day camp all week. So I'm hoping to have more photos to post soon, showing our plaster progress, too.

We stained the ceiling wood with an EcoProcote product called TimberSoy, a totally no-VOC wood stain. It's pretty nice to work with stain materials that you don't need gloves, good ventilation, or skin protection to install, and then can clean up with soap and water. Go eco-groovy.

Also, here's a shot of our wall plaster in it's packaging: cloth bags. Love it. Can't argue with that. Compostable. Or reuseable.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Bee Swarm

Last weekend, I was walking past the west side of our house with Ella, when I heard a curious sound...which I will illustrate with a quote from Winnie the Pooh:

"Winnie-the-Pooh sat down at the foot of the tree, put his head between his paws and began to think. First of all he said to himself: "That buzzing-noise means something. You don't get a buzzing-noise like that, just buzzing and buzzing, without its meaning something. If there's a buzzing noise, somebody's making a buzzing-noise, and the only reason for making a buzzing-noise that I know of is because you're a bee." From Pooh's Bedtime Book by A.A. Milne.

And when I adjusted my gaze upwards, I saw a whole pile of bees clumped on the rafter of the house. Two clumps, actually.

When one is not prepared to have bees of their own, as we are not at the moment, a person in my shoes needs to call Ben, who is very enthusiastic about his bee project right now. He said he'd come over shortly and try to catch the swarm, because he wanted to replace a hive that died over the winter. But by the time he got here, the swarm clump had shrunk, suggesting that they had already chosen our house as their post-swarm location. Which is what we confirmed. They had moved into a chance cavity at the edge of our roof. Darn.

So now we're not sure what to do. We're going to try to vacuum them out with a shop-vac. Short of that, we may need to close them up and allow them to die, as we can't have bees living in the roof. Just our latest homestead adventure...