So this is a bit of what I’ve been up to lately. I installed some curtain holdbacks in the kitchen and in the master bedroom. Oh my, I love these. The pull the curtains back more than before. I was using ribbon, all fancy and pretty, but it didn’t get the curtains all the way to the window frame. Since the curtain holdbacks attach to the window frame they really open things up. And then when you are ready to close the curtains you simply flip the curtains out of the holdbacks. Awesome. They run about $8-15 for the pair. Well, I’m sure there are ones that are more expensive but I’m going to assume you aren’t looking for gold-plated ones. If you want gold plate you are on your own as that’s way out of my experience.
I’ve also been freezing. I mean making food to stock the freezer, and so last weekend I made Bolognese sauce. Did I ever. I had somehow stockpiled enough raw material to make six double batches. Ahem. That’s 12 batches in plain old ordinary counting. After I ran through every one of my larger plastic food containers I started to get a bit desperate for something to hold the food. I have a pressure canner and wanted to can the sauce but since there is meat in the sauce, every source I checked said it’s a bad idea to try and seal the jars unless it’s a tried-and-tested recipe. Phooey. It defies logic since you can pressure can plain old meat but then there’s that whole death thing, or possibly causing serious harm your friends, family and self.
Well. Then I read that you can freeze in canning jars as long as you fill only to the shoulder! What an amazing piece of information! For years I’ve been ignoring that tidbit of information since it’s on the side of the box the jars come in! This is just the upstairs freezer, there’s at least an equal amount in various plastic containers in the basement chest freezer.
I’ve also worked a fair amount in the basement. I applied foil tape to the 101 seams in our home heating duct work. There is possibly 105 more to do but already the basement feels cooler than it used to. DH insists it feels warmer than before.
I started the process of caulking the spaces where the block foundation meets the various wood frames of the house–at the top of the walls where the house starts, and around windows and doors. Four tubes of caulk and I have more to do. Part of the problem is I’m also painting the walls and I need to fill in the holes that are so deep neither the roller nor the paint brush get inside.
Here you can see what a wreck the paint on the walls is. Each wall takes a long time to prep. This week I worked on just one wall: Monday I scraped, Tuesday I scrubbed, Wednesday I caulked.
Here is an important reminder about lead paint older houses can have lead paint and before disturbing existing paint you should have it tested. You can contact a remediation company in your area, or you can do as I did and collect a sample to send to a lab for testing. I used EMSL which has offices in New York City and in locations across America. Testing is really straightforward: fill in a form, include the sample and mail to the lab. Pricing depends on how urgent your need for results is, though in my case they emailed me results well before the due date.
I’ve gotten different information from professionals within the field as to the pervasiveness of lead paint. The remediation company that helped us with the asbestos said that lead paint is actually quite rare to find since it was so expensive. According to him many people opted for cheaper, non-lead versions. On the other hand, the building inspector for our house said that even houses built after 1978, when lead paint was outlawed, could have lead paint. There is no guarantee that the paint wasn’t sitting around and bought “real cheap” by an unscrupulous builder. The bottom line is that there is a risk of lead paint and with testing being so easy it’s best to find out for certain.
Scrubbing the basement walls was actually kind of fun because with an unfinished basement that has a sump pump, after scrubbing I simply sluiced water down to the floor and pushed it to the sump. The yellow panels you see in the photo are our new headboard. They are ready to go up, I just need the time and the “round tuit” to get them upstairs and mounted.
As an exercise in “how different things are” this is the wall that has a coat of primer. What a difference! I’m sort of stuck at this point because I need more paint and primer. My plan is to paint the walls a nice, clean white, and then install new light fixtures. We have a couple of fluorescent lights so those areas are well-lit but the rest is fairly dungeon-like. I’ll put in fluorescent lights that tuck at least part way up in between the floor joists, but the big change I want, and this thought makes me giddy, is I want to have the lights controlled from a light switch at the top of the stairs. I know, STOP! That sort of luxury is crazy! What’s next, gold-plated curtain holdbacks?