Monthly Archives: June 2009

Yes, that’s me wearing the industrial strength breathing mask sanding hardwood floors

The dust doth fly when sanding old varnish off of hardwood floors.

I began writing this post on June 22, 2009…
Now that the wall painting is complete we began sanding the hardwood floors on the second floor of the house. I used the edger at 5 minute intervals. Every muscle in my body was hurting to keep that thing from flying away from me and into the freshly painted trim. I look like a man in these photos. Bahahaa! Note to self – post picture of me wearing a dress at a future date…

Me using the Edger

So you ask why paint walls and trim before refinishing the floors? Simple; it’s easy to touch up paint but not as easy to touch up hardwood floors. It’s easy to wipe paint drippings off of old floors and if you miss one it’s OK but it’s not easy to wipe paint cleanly off of newly finished hardwood floors. It’s also easy to vacuum trim after sanding hardwood and a pain in the ass to need to tape edges before painting and lay tarps down on newly refinished hardwood.

All in all we sanded three times using three different toothed sanding papers and laid down three coats of polyurethane on the floor with a light buffing in between the first and second coat of polyurethane. The wood lifts after the first coat so it’s a good idea to buff ’em before varnishing on top again.

Homemade Squeegee

We are working on the main floor hardwood today. The studio, living room, sunroom and library all have have hardwood floors. Sadly the walls in all those rooms are plastered with wallpaper, however it’s in decent condition (unlike the upstairs) and whoever lived there previously painted on top of it! I am also flabbergasted at the mess of caulking around all the old original windows and trim in the studio, living room and sunroom. I didn’t notice this until we began working in those rooms yesterday.

what a difference!

And Dad spent a couple of hours removing cheap nailed in place weather stripping from all the outside doors. Couldn’t believe they nailed it in place. Each door now has a bazillion holes surrounding it’s edges. Don’t nail weather stripping. And don’t caulk yourself if you do not know how to do it. I’ll be taking a razor blade to the bathtub and toilet later this week to cleanly peel the caulking off of it. Whatever (cheap clear silicone) they slathered over the original caulking is akin to honeyed sticky glue that is brown and spreads when you you try to scrape it. A razor is the only thing that’ll take it off cleanly without damaging the enamel of both the tub and toilet.

Bathroom TV

4 days later…

The hardwood on the main floor is dry and can be walked on and the bathroom fixtures are scraped clean with a razor :)

The tale is being told in pictures on Flickr (70 pictures and counting) and in mighty fine tweets on Twitter. Hope you’ll join me!

And the paper fell to the floor in wet sticky clumps then we painted the walls

After a week of wetting, scraping and peeling wallpaper off the four upstairs bedrooms, bathroom and sitting room the antique plaster walls were revealed. And to our surprise, namely my Dad who is a mason by trade, the plaster underneath was in excellent condition only needing minor touch-ups to fill in cracks and holes.

In two of the rooms it was seven or eight or layers deep

Plain water works best to remove wallpaper if you are sensitive to the chemical softeners found in many of the store brand wallpaper removers. You’ll find to that slipping your scraper underneath dry wallpaper will lift it directly off the wall before needing to wet it as the old paste has most likely dislodged and lost it’s stickiness. It’s best to take as much off before wetting it. Simply fill your paint tray with warm water and using a paint roller, roll the water beginning at the bottom of the wall and roll on up to the top. Let it sit for 5 or 10 minutes and repeat that process until you can easily peel or scrape off a layer or two.


This will work well unless their is plastic or vinyl in the wallpaper. And seeing as most antique wallpapers were rolled on walls using a homemade paste, water will soften that paste easily. Even the newer wallpapers after the removal of the initial vinyl layer it will soften and peel quite easily once soaked with water.

Tweet Tweet!


There was this section of the original wallpaper that didn’t seem to want to come off. I decided to leave it there as it’s beautiful. It was created by Stanton and is entitled Blossom Time (Circa 1910). Last weekend I rummaged through a huge village wide yard sale in Hampton and purchased an antique frame to frame that area of wallpaper with. There is something special about preserving what was once there; in homage.


We found a secret door


Directly to the left of Blossom Time we found a secret door that was sealed. We originally thought it could have been a window but as we continued scraping and glanced down at the floor trim we realized it was door and not a window. We don’t know why it was blocked and someday I may install a door there to create a second floor deck on top of the first floor sunroom. That is why the second floor appears odd in this outside shot.

The tale is being told in pictures on Flickr (45 pictures and counting) and in mighty fine tweets on Twitter. Hope you’ll join me!

One bedroom primed

After the wallpaper was removed we began sanding with household kitchen scrubbies that you do dishes with to remove any picks and stray pieces of paper before priming.

Always read the damn paint can

After priming the walls we painted the trim, doors and banister with white semi-gloss latex. I spent 8 hours one day painting the trim and doors of two bedrooms with oil based primer. I could not for the life of me figure out why my stomach was turning nor why the fumes were so intense if this was indeed water based latex. It looked the same wet. Not until it dried and Dad came up to see me did we realize I was using the wrong paint. I had been complaining all day to Dad and my brother who were downstairs taking out cupboards in the kitchen that the fumes sucked and they just looked at me funny saying “Latex does not smell”. So, I laboured away getting high and sick…

My bedroom!
…and the walls we painted a dark eggshell colour. What a difference!

I’m looking forward to moving in. There is no estimated date of when this will happen. We began doing the hardwood floors over and it’s really the last thing to do and I’ll post about that soon. I also dearly miss working in my shop and creating art.

Backyard Blossom – The Miniature Plum Tree

This tree is loaded with pretty petite white blossoms. Each blossom turns into a miniature plum complete with mini pit and at the mature size of a blueberry they are the sweetest little plums I’ve ever had the pleasure of eating.

I’ll be regularly updating the Garden 2009 Set on Flickr with both photos from my current residence with my folks and that of my own house once I move in 😉

And the stripping continues or welcome to my new home and other smoking updates

peeling the wallpaper

The dotted lines are signed as of May 28, 2009, the keys handed over and all is well in my new home except for the decades worth of wallpaper that I’m removing from three of the upstairs bedrooms. It normally doesn’t come off as easy as this wall did. In fact, this was the only wall that peeled in this way. Each and every other wall is painstakingly tedious to wet, scrape, peel, wet, scrape, peel…

Back Deck

I’ll officially be moving in on June 9th when the kitchen appliances and beds I ordered arrive.

The tale is being told in pictures on Flickr (28 pictures and counting) and in mighty fine tweets on Twitter. Hope you’ll join me!

Living room looking into Sunroom

Oh, and I’m 22 days smoke free today! And it has not been easy at times. Hit the more button at the bottom of my twitter and you’ll read why.

Upstairs Hallway

And add to the stress of non-smoking and buying a house; I’ve had my period for 8 days straight. I’m tired. I know it’s due to having an IUD. I will be going to doctor soon to get it taken out. This is an ongoing monthly issue for me that seems to be getting worse as the months progress since having the copper IUD inserted 2.5 years ago.

Spooky Basement 01

I can’t wait to set my studio up!

I woke today to find that my art is featured in 11 treasuries. There is a site called Craftopolis that lets you see the current treasuries you are featured in on Etsy. Hope you’ll visit each one or stop by the shop to say hi!