Thursday, January 30, 2014

Mickey's Bedroom

This winter, for the first winter in a couple of years, we are once again sleeping upstairs in our bedrooms, and I'm loving it. Tom and I loaded up on extra jobs last summer with the sole purpose of insulating the attic floor so that when we turned on the heat for the second floor we wouldn't be heating the great outdoors. Somewhere, I have before and after photos of the attic, but who knows where they are. We're still probably heating the great out doors but not nearly as much. All the old, original windows still need to be reglazed and cracks and crevices in the facade need to be caulked. One day the walls will also need to be insulated as many of the rooms do not have the benefit of ambient heat from the adjoining rooms since most of the rooms have three exposures. But I digress.  

I never do one thing at a time. I always have multiple projects in the air at the same time. So while socking away money for the attic insulation, I was busy stripping all the wallpaper off the bedrooms with the intent of cleaning up all the woodwork and floors so that we could feel like we were moving back into renovated rooms. I got all the bedroom wallpaper off, but still have a strip of wallpaper along the hallway ceiling yet to do. It will wait. After the wallpaper was off, I decided to leave the bare plaster walls as is for the time being. Frequently I see layouts in home magazines showing rooms with bare plaster walls and fancy furniture. If those fancy magazines can say bare plaster walls are beautiful, then I can say so, too.


As the summer was whizzing by, it was clear that I was not going to get as much done as I had hoped, so I concentrated on Mickey's room first.  After the wallpaper was gone, I set about sanding down the painted window moldings and baseboards. I wasn't concerned with sanding down to the wood, only creating a smoother surface over which to paint. I did, however, want to strip the paint completely off the door and return it to its original beauty, including the beautiful brass hardware.

The ceiling paint presented a real problem because it was peeling badly. After a lot of scouring around on the internet looking at solutions, I decided the best I could do would be to manually scrap off as much paint as I could. I armed myself with some heavy duty sharp scrapers and took multiple passes at it, each going a different direction, and then I attacked it with my palm sander. In my scouring, I found a product that I could paint the ceiling with that would bind whatever paint was left to the plaster so that there would be no more peeling.  After that was completed, I gave it three coats of ceiling paint. It's not smooth, but it works, and it is an old farmhouse and no one really notices. Someday I'll have the ceiling skim coated, but that's years away.

I bought a couple cans of Rust-o-leum off-white primer and painted the radiator so that I could get in between each of the ribs (?) with a light color. I then painted what I could reach with the paint I was using to paint all the baseboards and window trim.

I asked Mickey what colors he would like to have in his room. Blue and green. Instantly I set out to find a blue and green plaid duvet and matching pillow shams. While I was at it, I wanted to find him some flannel sheets, and I decided to buy each of our beds a down comforter. As it turned out, I opted for the down alternative comforters and Macy's had Martha Stewart's down alternatives on sale, and because I was lucky enough to purchase them online on Veteran's Day, I got an extra 15% off! Yeah, me! I'm not done done with his room - I want to replace his windows, find him either a good desk or a comfy arm chair, and I still want to skim coat and paint over the old plaster walls, but all in all, I'm very proud of how his room turned out. 


Below is a picture of Mickey's room taken when we looked at the house the first time. Comparing it to the photo above, you can see the difference without the wallpaper, our off-white wood work and the tung oiled floor.


The door knob and face plate above is on the door to the closet. This face plate is heavy brass, better quality than what is on his bedroom door. Because there is some tell-tale signs of walls being moved when various additions were made the house, I think that his closet hardware was originally on his bedroom door as the bedroom door hardware is clearly not original, though it is still Victorian.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Up-ended Sleeping

So. When we were still sleeping downstairs in the parlors, Mickey would often migrate from his bed to ours after we had put him to sleep. And then we would disrupt his peaceful sleep to move him from our bed back to his bed so that we could go to bed.  Apparently I took this photo in July of 2012, and I know I've never posted it. Today while browsing through photos to see how far behind I was with regard to posting to my blog, I came across it and simply had to share. We were both startled and amused to walk into the bedroom to find him sleeping in this position.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Ninth Birthday, a year and half late . . .

Ok. I'm embarrassed. Here it is, a year and a half after Mickey's 9th birthday and I'm just now posting about it. I've been busy. Really busy. And today, I don't have to be in to work until 11:00, so as I sat in front of the computer with my coffee, I thought I'd take a look at my old blog to see where things were. I was taken back that I started this post a year and half ago but never finished it.  So today, I'm finishing it. Given my poor memory, there won't be much story. I'm basically posting the photos so they won't be lost to all time once our computer crashes and we lose everything, which happens every year and half or so.

Having a birthday in the summer can be difficult. So many people are away on vacation. We used to invite the world for Mickey's birthday celebrations and turn them into grand summer barbecues. This used to be draining for the Tom and me, and the time came when it was clear it was draining for Mickey, too. So each year he pares down his list to the kids he'd like to have around and then we see who is around.  For his ninth birthday, Mickey celebrated with Cooper (red cap), Roman (on the left) and Antonius (on the right).

I take charge of the food and cake and Tom takes charge of the kids and festivities. Tom comes up with all kinds of crazy things for the kids to do. I don't remember how this went, but first there was some sort of sock race.

And then there was some other race of some sort, and though it isn't depicted here, I think this race had to do with the socks, too. Or maybe it was all the same race. See. It's my memory. (Tom will probably see this post and then tell me these photos had nothing to do with a race or Mickey's birthday and these kids aren't really anyone we know.)



Once Tom got all the kids worn out with games, we settled down to eat.  Though no pictures of the meal survived, I believed this year we decided to have a taco bar and let the kids fill their own.  They also probably watched a movie while they ate, but that movie escapes my memory, too. 

And for every birthday, this one included, Mickey has always had a special birthday cake made by yours truly. For his first birthday (his 3rd birthday), I made him a circus themed cake. Every year after, I let Mickey choose what kind of theme he would have. The subsequent themes were the monkey cake, the shark cake, the tiger cake (of which no photos were taken, dang it), then the alligator cake, and then last year he had Tipper cupcakes. This year he wanted a Spiderman cake. I always search the internet for ideas to steal, and after the multi-caked alligator cake, and the black icing and candy parts of the Tipper cupcakes, I was very glad to find this simple solution for a Spiderman cake.

And then after too much excitement, as usual, and a good bath, the sugar coma started to settle in and we could all relax.

Last year (or was it the year before?), our good friend and neighbor, Elise (my bff), took Mickey to have lobster at Greek restaurant in town. He looooooved the lobster - I actually think it was the pool of butter that he loved more - so I thought maybe we could have a new tradition of a family only lobster dinner for Mick's summer birthday. If you watch the lobster tank at Price Chopper, you can get lucky and find lobsters at a good price. I bought three and left them in their bag on the back seat of the car and told Mickey his birthday present was out in the car and he could go get it himself. I was sure he'd start screaming and be too freaked out to pick them up . . .

but he wasn't, but he was also going to not let them get to close to him, safe in a bag or not.



Nothing like a simple summer meal of steamed lobster and corn on the cob.

Happy Birthday, Mick!