This Tuesday, I was awakened by the sound of lawn equipment.  I went outside and the nice man who comes and cuts my lawn twice a month, came by to make sure the yard was nice for Thanksgiving.  That was so nice of him.  We asked him to start cutting our yard at least twice a month.  Steven sometimes works long hours and can’t get to it.  I am not allowed to cut the yard (see my previous posts about incidents with me and tools) so in order to keep the yard nice and the city code enforcement at bay, we decided to hire it out.  Usually the man brings his children and his littlest daughter comes in to play with my daughter.  Here is a picture of them on the porch racing.  Both completely decked out with “Princess” sunglasses and all.


HACL Christmas Party

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas!

The Historical Association of Central Louisiana will be hosting its Annual Christmas Party at the loft residence of James and Frances Hurst.  This property is located at the corner of 16th and Washington Streets in downtown Alexandria.  The event will be held on Sunday, December 7, 2008 from 2-4 p.m.
Please RSVP: (318) 448-3952

Black Friday buy and what I did with it

Well, on my way out to spend my 50% off Michael’s coupon, I got talked into stopping by Harbor Freight by my husband and bored brother.  I thought it was a fair trade.  They go with me to Michael’s and I go with them to the tool shop.  I thought that I would not find much to look at, but I surprised myself.  I bought a 6 piece carpentry carving tool set for $5.00.  I was looking for old dental tools to start work on stripping the paint out of the fine details of my spare room mantel so coming across these was a Godsend.  I decided to try them out today.  After I removed some of the paint from the wainscoting in the hall, I talked my brother into helping me drag the mantel out to the porch.  I really didn’t have to twist his arm, after I mentioned it, I found him in the spare room with a drill unbolting it from the wall. 

The paint came off pretty easily.  I am not an expert in wood grains, but I think the mantel is some type of walnut.  Maybe someone can tell me.  The face and details are, of course, plaster.  I was not able to work on it very long because the paint stripper was making the plaster a little soft.  My four year old daughter even caught a picture of me. Here are a few pictures:

All in all, I am happy with my purchase.  I think I have found a new favorite store (Harbor Freight).

Don’t ask me what my outfit is doing.  It is a combination of clothing that has gotten paint or other gook on them over the years.  Hope everyone enjoyed their weekend.Me

Black Friday Shopping List

When most people are putting things like: “New set of pots and pans, Christmas gift for Susie” on their shopping list for this Friday, I am listing things like: “New set of light sconces for the Living Room, faucet for the kitchen sink, and scaffolding”. Hahaha….sounds like more work!  Our local hardware store has a great sale on Black Friday and you get 20% off your entire purchase.

So, I need to figure out what kind of light sconces will look good in the living room.  Here is a picture of the current sconces (For some reason, they are just not talking to me.  I think they are ok, but they just don’t seem to blend in).  What kind of sconce do I need?  I was leaning towards something a little darker.  Like oil rubbed bronze, or even black.  I also need to find some piece of art to go on top the mantel to.  I put a empty frame up there a while back to see how it looks and it just got stuck there.  I have not gotten around to climbing back up there and taking it down.

So, what are your suggestions?

I was thinking about something like this:

sconce suggestion

While I’m at it, I am going to post pics of the shelves my brother helped make while he was here waiting out Hurricane Gustav.  He cut the boards for me.  I sanded them and rounded the edges and corners, beat them up a little with a chain and some other things to make it look like it was old and had been walked on for a hundred years, stained them and voila!  Then he put up the brackets and hung the shelves.  Thanks Jonathan! 

LR Shelves

Spare Room – getting close

Well, I finally put a bed in the spare room and fluffed it up for my incoming Thanksgiving house guests.  It is not completely decorated or finished.  I still need to paint some of the trim and strip the mantel, but here is the before and after.  So, Mom, your bed is waiting for you!

Spare room before

Spare room - almost done

Oh, and remember that baseboard gap?  I filled it in with caulk and painted it the baseboard trim color.  Here is the before and after.  I did not have to rip out the sheetrock after all.

Baseboard before


I love caulk!  I think that has to be one of my favorite “old house” tools.


I think only here on this blog can I say I am stripping and people know I am talking about paint and not clothes 🙂  My husband was so proud of his door today that he asked me to take a picture of the before and after.  He took the spare bedroom door down to take outside and try his new handy dandy stripper he bought.  I have to say, it works quite well!  It works better than anything I have ever used.  It is also blonde proof, it turns blue when it is ready to come off.  I get impatient and try to start scraping the paint off before its ready.  With a scraper and a copper steel wool-like thingy, he got two or three layers of paint off in three hours.  I was excited that it came off so easily.  I was ready to start on the hall again.  We have beautiful burly/curly pine wainscoting in the hall that is begging to come out from under 48 years of paint.  The only bad thing about the stripper is that it is not “green”.  It is some serious mambo jambo!  The stripper is called: Klean Strip, Premium Stripper, Color Change Paste.  A lot of people asked me what I used (umm, or what my husband used!  I cannot take credit for this one!).  This stripper pulls the paint off unlike anything I have ever seen.  I know it is not “green”, but all of the green methods I have used take a long time and do not strip paint as well as this product.  I have used the heat gun too.  The heat gun method is good for small areas, but if you have a serious job to do (like us, ALL of the trim and doors in our entire house were painted over about forty-eight years ago, and again about twenty years ago), I would recommend Klean Strip.  The paste is good for vertical jobs since it is thicker and clings to the surface and does not run down the wood work.

I can’t wait to sand the door down and re-stain it.  The next stripping project I have my eye on is the fireplace mantel in the spare room.  It has faces in the column.  It is very neat, but it has so much paint gooked on it that it is hard to make out the details.  About three hours way, in New Orleans, there is salvage company called The Bank.  It is awesome!   It is a warehouse full of architectural salvage.  Even more so now after Hurricane Katrina.  Anyway, they have a large vat of paint stripper and for about $200-$250 or so, they will take a fireplace mantel/door, etc. and dunk it into the vat and spray off all of the paint.  It is great for fireplaces or large items that are intricately carved and have paint gooked in it.  I have heard that it is clean when it comes out!  I may give it a try sometime in the near future.  I will keep you posted on the results, if I do.

Well, anyway, here is the door.  My husband is six feet tall, by the way.  So, that shows you how big the door really is.  I am starting to get excited.  We have been in blah mode through the Summer and into the Fall.  After our construction loan did not work out, we were really annoyed that we lost 5 months during which we could have been working.  Oh well, time to get busy now.

Yay! New Furniture!

Yay!  My mother-in-law and father-in-law (Kathy and Danny) brought down the bedroom set that Steven’s aunt sold us.  She sold her bed and breakfast and needed to get rid of some extra furniture since she was downsizing to a two bedroom apartment.  Steven was going to go up to Natchitoches (an hour away) to meet them and help take it apart and pack it onto a trailer.  Kathy and Danny, who are retired, said they could handle taking it down and bringing it to us.  No prob for me!  On the way out of the house, Kathy fell down the steps and thought she broke her ankle.  She is OK!  Thank goodness!  I felt terrible and knew that we should have went up there to help them.

We received a call early this morning, they were on their way to deliver the bedroom set and Kathy only had a sprained ankle…not broken!  Thank God.  They arrived and the bedroom set was more beautiful than I remembered.  I am glad we decided to keep it in our room and put our stuff in the spare bedroom.  The bedroom set is heavily carved.  It is not exactly Eastlake, it is more Victorian.  It has some Eastlake tendencies though.  Here are a few pics.  I could not take a good picture of the bed because: 1) It was not made up; 2) Steven was already in bed.  I am very excited!  It looks great in our room!  Once I get everything pieced together and make the bed up, I will post a better picture.

Everything in our bedroom is done except: 1) crown molding; 2) ripping up the ugly blue carpet and sanding and refinishing the wood floors.  The wood floors are in great preserved condition because of the carpet.  One day when we are done scraping and painting the exterior of the house and updating the plumbing, I am going to sand and refinish the floor.

If I do not post anything between now and then, Have A Happy Thanksgiving!!!

Proposed Art District

Awesome!  Click here to read: Town Talk-Proposed Art District.

I think this would be very beneficial for the downtown area, the artists and for the citizens of Alexandria.

Regarding the bus depot, I wonder if they are talking about the one they propose to build across the street from me fronting Bolton and backing Florence Avenue.  I know they own one piece of property between the grocery store and the cleaners and bought a second adjoining piece.  The city was also looking into acquiring the old Rush dry cleaners and King’s Mart.  I guess I will have to wait until the minutes get published before I can satisfy my curiosity!  I would be happier with a bus transfer station than the run down buildings we are looking at right now.


Living Room

As I was scrolling through my pictures, I noticed that I never posted the before or after pictures of my living room.  So, here they are.  I haven’t gotten around to decorating yet, but at least it is painted.  I still have about 40 yards of fabric I brought back from the Philippines that I have yet to make into curtains.  So many projects….so little time.   I am just trying to take it one step at a time.  Later….

Living Room - Before

Living Room - After

Living Room Bay Before