Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Help us match this garden fence, please!

Still 'tis the time for spending more time outside the house than in, and that's ok, except for collecting dust, bunny fur, laundry, etc. Anyway...

We bought these garden fence panels last year at either Home Depot or Lowe's, I forget. They are 2 ft. wide and 9 in high, not counting the stake/legs. No place seems to have anything remotely similar now, and we need a bunch more, maybe 10+. If anyone has seen any, or something similar, in the Chicago area or on-line/mail order, any tips would be greatly appreciated. We'd happily do something even more Craftsman/bungalow style but can't seem to find much of that either, aside from way pricey custom made things which we're not quite up for yet.


Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Hooked on TiVo...

Ok, I'm sure I'm not the only one, but dang, it's a house-obsessed geek's dream come true. I have wishlists for "bungalow" and "Arts Crafts" and "brick" and "plaster" and "stone" (having
picked the home improvement category to remove the programs about Sharon and Oliver) and "plumbing" and I forget how many other keywords...(not to mention the Brosnan, Pierce, keywords, and so on, but that's a whole 'nother topic).

Such fun late at night, surfing the guide data, running wishlists, Bee-Boop, Boo-Beep...kind of soothing, really, till the spouse sees I have added 5 hours of shows in the next few days, and we are already close to capacity with those exercise shows we keep meaning to use and the documentaries we are never in the mood to watch but can't just delete...


Wednesday, June 18, 2008

The caterpillars were some bird's lunch

Or else they got washed away in the huge storms, dunno...They had made it to almost 2 inches long but then were just gone. I don't see any cocoons on the plants, at least.

I don't THINK baby rabbits eat them...

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Now It's All About the Yard...

So we are growing lettuce for the rabbits, peppers and beans for us, sunflowers for fun and the birds...
We've had great butterfly visitors thanks to the prior owner's plants. Now (thanks to a wonderful friend/neighbor) we added some common milkweed , the favorite egg-laying spot of the Monarchs, and It's Working! We just have to hope they make coccoons before they eat the whole tiny plants...they'll be better off next year.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Still about the house...

No we didn't get eaten by the mice or move or anything. Just had blogging as less of a priority for a while there. Hoping to make up for that, but the photos may take longer to catch up.

We mostly did a lot of little things, like get a spiffy new oriental rug for the living room from Peerless Rugs on Lincoln near Wellington in Chicago. Great website and free shipping anywhere, too. It was a hand-knotted discontinued one that we just fell in love with and bought on the spot, a good deal, too.

We got a new Energy Star fridge for the basement, to replace the 20+ year old clunker that was near death.

I installed a built-in soap dispenser for the kitchen sink, to replace the non-working sprayer that was disconnected when we bought the house (and the current faucet doesn't even have a place TO connect it).

And we are in the process of switching kitchen cabinet handles, from bad 70's things to sort of retro, very similar to the handles on our built-in buffet. Photo soon.

Other unplanned things, like the hellish plumbing mess in the kitchen, have taken more time and been less fun. The sink got slower and slower and then plugged up and no amount of plunging, drain cleaner or even snaking would improve it. Then the plunging started bringing up metal flakes, like rusty granola or corn flakes, gobs of it. We took this as a bad sign and called a professional. They power rodded things and it seemed ok, but only for a couple days, then total clog and metal bits again. It seems there is some oddness with how the previous owners moved the sink from one all to the other 30 years ago and not too properly, so that nasty pipe bends prevent proper rodding and are collecting gunk. And our vent stack may be falling to bits, which would SO not be a good thing. Awaiting word from their conferring, estimating, etc. At least we have another sink in the basement in the mean time.

Next post on more fun things, gardening....

Friday, January 04, 2008

Of lights and mice and doorbell chimes

Our front hall has a nifty hanging light fixture with a white glass acorn-shaped shade that is original to the house. (The '70's disco wallpaper sure isn't, and is soon to go)

Recently, the pullchain switch broke, after a mere 88 years of use. Took the socket off and the switch apart and saw that one of the brass pieces of the switch had broken and did not seem fixable. We wanted to at least get a decent replacement that would last another 50 years, if not 80. Home improvement stores seem to only carry junky imported stuff (more rants on that later), but at least there are still some small local places with quality items in stock. One such is Great West Electrical Supply (not sure if they have a website) in Berwyn on 26th Street. They had socket interiors in stock that the owner figured his dad had bought 50 years ago, Hubbell brand, made in Connecticut. As he said, Hubbell invented the pull chain switch and it seems he was right (See this for instance.) It was a feel-good retail experience with people who are happy to be "old school" as he said, rather than the clueless kids you often get at large chain stores.
I later realized that the turn-switch light in a nearby closet has the very same Hubbell logo on it, so I figured the house approves.

We had a little rodent visitor recently (may it R.I.P.) and around then, the doorbell stopped working. I tried the easy stuff, take off the switch, see if the wires still made a circuit...nothing. The chime part tested ok. So, trace the wire from the front door back, pulling ceiling panels in the basement every few feet...find the transformer, once I learned what that was. Gosh, old wires with their cloth covering missing in spots near a pile of leaves and sawdust up in the ceiling. Bingo. The bare wire was touching an electrical conduit and shorting out, it seemed. A few bits of electrical tape fixed the wire and gosh, the bell worked again. Put back the boring plastic button until we can get a cool metal retro one in the spring.

A couple case of some education and work that got us back to just about where we started. So it goes.