Thursday, May 04, 2006

We Met Alton Brown!!!!

Jessica, Pat, Kris and I went to the small town of Florence last Saturday (20
miles east of Newton) for a fund-raiser a brisket feed where Alton Brown of "Good
Eats" was filming an episode of his new show,"Feasting on Asphalt". He was
there for some bbq joint. I guess the premise of the show is he and some
french chef travel across america on motorcyles stopping off at "good eats"!
Well Saturday he and his crew stopped in Florence. That night the town was
having their anual town brisket dinner at the high school gym. Alton and his
crew decided to stick around and help with the needless to
say....WE MET ALTON BROWN!!! and got our picture taken with him. He is
genuinely a very nice guy. the personality that he portrays on his show is
how he was!!! Along with getting our picture taken with him Jessica had him sign
his autograph on her marriage license! (It was the only paper she had in her
purse. ) His comment was, " This is a first. I've never signed a marriage
license before!" He was so friendly and cute too!!!

Oh yeah and the food was awesome. What a great time!!!!

Sunday, April 09, 2006

The Rest of the Office Update

OK, so we got the desk delivered and the office set up (minus all of the junk that will eventually need to go in it somewhere, and we haven't finished the closet yet--though you'll have to come here to see that because it will be too cramped to take pictures). I tried to update this last night but it wasn't uploading pictures correctly so we'll try it again now with the last few pictures I have.

Here is the new closet door we put in.

This is the pass through that goes from the right hand cabinet into the closet behind it. Practically, this will allow us to store long items and still be able to get at them since the back of the closet will probably be blocked with clothes. Impractically, we thought, someday, a child might like it for a "secret room" type place. Now if we could only successfully breed we might make use of it. Our nephew Tanner loves it, though. Also, that is a monkey hiding in there now. The Puma (Newton's own superhero, who likes to visit people and leave surprise presents when they are on vacation) left this for us a few years ago while we were in Canada. He looks good in here.

Here is the new desk. It is mighty. You can sort of see the carpet in here too. We also go the pictures hung. Yea for us being productve!

Last one. This is just the outside wall with drapes and pictures up. Libby puts alot of stock in things like drapes, so I figured I would share them with everyone.

OK, that's that. Lots of pictures, but considering how long this project has taken I suppose that makes sense. Thanks for taking the time to look it over.

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Office Update

So I thought I would post some pictures continuing the process of our construction (oh, and this is Pat, in case anyone cares). This way we have an easy way to show everyone what's been done.
this could be rather long, since we haven't updated this in several weeks, but bare with me.

This is the only process picture we have of the "overhang" that we built to cover up the heat duct that goes through the room. Libby also wired a light into it. My desk goes underneath it in the finished project.

And here is the finished project.

This is the system we used to create the bookshelves. These boxes we built and stained then attached to a 2x4 that we attached to the wall along a stud. Each end box was 1x8 size to accommodate the dining room door and the closet door. The four middle boxes were 1x12 depth.

And here is what they looked like with both boxes up and the shelves put in. There's still plenty of "froo froo" crap that has to go on each of these, though, before it's all said and done.

Here is the row of shelves up. We still needed to finish cutting a few of the shelves themselves--we had to cut each to individual measurements since concepts of "square" and "accurate" were foreign to us.

And here is the finished project with all of the decorative touches added (we may elaborate on them in the future, but this is what they're going to look like for the time being). As you can see, all of this work created JUST enough bookshelf space for the books that I already had. Guess I'm going to have to sort through them and get rid of enough to make room for future purchases. Which is fine. I have some books I stole from Newman's library as a college student that I really don't need anymore. I mean, The Prague Spring? Who cares. And you wouldn't believe the Hemmingway collection I have. You'd almost think I liked the guy.

And our desk is just arriving so I better close this and continue later!

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Ya'll Deserve An Update

Sorry....its just that my life has totally revolved around work and the renovation. Here are some long overdue pics starting with the oldest and working up to tonight.( Ugh...Blogger isn't letting me upload any more images is through about two weeks ago. We have all the wiring in, sheetrock up, walls painted, lights installed, and most of the library cases built. I'll just have to try to upload more later).

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Phase 3 Complete

Last weekened we had a "Sheetrocking Party." I was so impressed at how many of our friends (sporting their toolbelts) showed up to hang sheetrock in the new office. The room now has walls again and the long process of mudding (Phase 4) can begin.

As of today, we have the first coat of mud on most of the seams. I wish my mom, the "Queen Mudder," was here! I have to continually go over my seams and sand them and they still look like something a 1st grader would do. I thought I had gotten the closet to an okay state, but after putting paint on it.....oh, lord. Lets just say that its a good thing its a closet. Mom is amazing though...a veritible Michaelangelo of Mud.

Anywho, we are continuing to mud along and taking breaks to strip the original woodwork, hang lighting in the closet, stain new trim boards, and paint completed walls.

I'll get some pics up in the next post!

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Betcha Can't do THIS in Your House!

I have a lot of sketches laid out on paper for this office. Sometimes you just need a bigger visual, though. The best part of this remodel has been spraypainting the sketches directly onto the floor. He, he, he. This is actually the space required for our wine fridge, wine rack, shelf and coat rod. A motley assesmbly, but you'll soon see the "vision" as construction continues.

Look for "Phase 2" to be continued this weekend. I'll try to be better about getting pics out to the world as the project progresses.


Phase 2: Rough Construction

Phase 2 of the office/library is the electrical rough-in and and any additional framing that needs to be done before insulating and sheetrocking.

Himself drilled all the holes for the electrical but the wiring was/is up to me. I really like doing the electrical but I would be lying if I said I was a confident electrician. Before, I always had my dad double checking my work to make sure it was right. Now, I'm on my own (well, with a few frantic emails sent overseas). I did do a little refresher via Google. I have put all the sockets on one line and I am convinced that I need to pull another line over to the light switches that will feed off to the three seperate light fistures (dad?). can I connect those two main lines and put them on the same breaker (dad?). Please, please, please do not let my insurance agent read this!!!!

At this point, some of you will be thinking, "oh, well the inspector will let you know if it is wrong." Although I work for the government and love being a public servant, I have sorta failed to get building permits for any of our projects (except for the shed--that would be pretty obvious for that to just "appear" in our yard). Its not that I have anything against paying for the permit or any of the monetary aspect...its just our house...there is no physical way that we could bring this 100+ year old house up to anything that resenbles "code." Its just easier this way...don't try to argue. Look at the picture of our existing electrical if you don't believe me. Someone fifty years ago thought..."hmm, we need 'nuther outlet in the bedroom. Well, let's just jerk in the wires from the kitchen and screw an extral terminal to this here board. Shoot, one of the screws missed the dang wood block. Ah well, it'll do."

Good times, good times.

We also discovered a few cobbled together old cloth-wrapped wires with ceramic insulators. The wires are still live and it appears that they run into our dining room. They are probably what is giving me power to run the computer right now.

On a super-cute note...kitties love construction. It must be the dirt. They totally butt-dig this room right now and eagerly come in to see what treasures (of the ancient mousey kind) that we have uncovered each day.

Phase 1 Complete

Himself and I finished up the demolition on Saturday, February 11th. What a mess! The ceiling was half filled with cellulose insulation that had migrate from the exterior wall and all filled with a hundred years of dirt that had worked its way down from the floor above.

It took three trips to the dump to get rid of it all.

When tearing out the east wall we found a cool mouse nest full of all kinds of history. I scooped it all into a storage container so that I can go through it and see all the things that this other "resident" used when it lived in our house.

Take a close look at Himself in this picture...what a dirty boy! Notice he is wearing his wedding ring...after this pic was taken, he managed to lose it for over a week. Long story (very long story) was in his work glove.

Alright People, I'm Not Dead

Just been crazy busy with work, demolition and applying for grad school. I'll start inputting all the updates tonight.

Sorry! :)

Monday, January 23, 2006

Demolition, Week 2

We have all but one wall stripped down to the studs. The west wall was by far, the worst. Behind the lathe was blown-in cellulose insulation. It took us two trips to the dump to get all the insulation, lathe, and wall board out of the house. By that point we were to pooped to tear into the remaining east wall.

We have been making a "wish list" for all the things that we (I) would like to include in the office when it is complete.......things like carpet, lighting, desk, etc. However, unless I'm getting a 100% return on my federal taxes, we (I) will need to make our list a little shorter.

West wall before:West wall showing lathe exposed (notice all the dust in the air):

Blown-in insulation exposed:Hard at work:

Its Not Valentine's Day Yet

I usually start making fun of people who still have their Christmas decorations up once Valentine's Day. I figure I still have three weeks left to finish up my Christmas stuff, so I'm actually AHEAD of the game! Here are the rest of the pictures from our happy holiday:

"Favorite Prezzie" picture at the Albers:

Family picture at the Love's:

A few funnies to enjoy:

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Office Space: Step one, Demolition

So what is the project for Casa de Albers in 2006?

Office Reconstruction: what once was a bedroom on the main floor (before we lived here) will now become a library and office.

We are tearing out everything in the room that Himself used as his office.
It took about a month, but Himself got all the books and stuff packed away and
moved to the garage. His desk and computer are sitting in the dining room
right now.

We have about half of the antique moldings taken off and the
majority are in one piece. We'll store that until its ready to go back up.
Now for the fun (and dusty) part: tearing out the walls down to the studs.

Once the tax return comes in we will run new electrical and create floor to
ceiling bookcases and cabinets. I'd like to turn 1/2 the closet under the
stairs into a "wine cellar." There will be a wooden tongue & groove
ceiling, new lighting, new desk, new carpet........I can't wait!!!

Do you know how many fights (discussions) Himself and I will have during the
reconstruction process? Too many to count! Ha, ha.

Sunday, January 08, 2006

A Friend to Dye For

My friend Lecia came up last night so that we could spend the day kool-aid dying some of the wool that I got from the Big Stash.
Check out the results!

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Senior Wednesday

Today is "Senior Wednesday" and I have been rushing around getting tables set up and making sure that there is enough space between chairs etc. This can be a hard group to please. I am actually concerned that two of my tablecloths don't match...I wonder what they will say. The topic this month is geology so I have put table coverings on all the tables to keep them from getting scratched. I still need to go shopping and get refreshments such as fruit, muffins, etc. At least its not "out of pocket" anymore since the program received a Kansas Health Foundation grant. Still need to print out sign in sheets, make coffee, hang geology posters and pull out some rock samples. Whew...still have 3 hours until program time so I'm doing okay.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006


Short Term:
Update blog re: Christmas, New Years, etc. this week!
Complete 6 more inches on Himself's scarf...kudos to Lia...that pattern is awesome! It is the Irish Hiking Scarf and I'm doing it in a merino called "tree bark mix." My first attempt a cables and I'm hooked!

Long Term:
Lose weight (as always) and don't quit excersing once summer has arrived...remember last 10 lbs, ran 2 5k's and then pow...its was all sedentary from then on!
Eat better (makes the above resolution easier)
Quit bitching (money, work, jobs, etc)

Knit something for ME!
Work over "grandma's garden"
finish the terraces by the canoe launch
finish the garden by the shed
clean out the loft in the garage
remodel Himself's office

Am I destined for failure...nah...I'll just file a change order somewhere mid-year.