Monthly Archives: January 2015

faucet futility

Thank goodness there is one more day left in the weekend, because I need to get down to Second Use and see if the faucet they have on their website is going to fit my sink. (Oh shit, it’s Superbowl Sunday tomorrow and Second Use is in SoDo; I am insane).

Nothing at Earthwise in Tacoma would fit, so I’m getting desperate and making the trek to Seattle. I love the Earthwise in Seattle, and I think I’m gonna like Second Use. It’s the traffic and the crowds I’m not interested in. If I were still a morning person, I’d have no trouble getting up in time to arrive at SoDo by 9am. These days, I have no idea how I’ll sleep, so I can’t guarantee I’ll wake refreshed with time to beat the traffic. Perhaps I will use this trip as practice for early rising.

And then I’ll come home to my ManCandy and loll about in front of the fire.


water works

The farm sink is lovely. But without running water, its utility is limited, gosh darn it. I’ve been making do with a two-gallon blue plastic water dispenser; it was fine for the morning coffee, but nothing else.

I needed some tools. I needed some supplies. I did the ordering and the picking up of these things.

Thanks to my motorcycling friend, Dan, I now have a blue, food-grade, 55-gallon drum for my water supply. (Click, and thereby embiggen the pics!)

Thanks to McLendon’s in Puyallup, I’ve got CPVC pipes and elbows and other bits to transport the water from the barrel to the faucet.

Oh, yeah, the faucet.

I found a great faucet at Earthwise Tacoma. It was brass and cool looking and didn’t fit the holes in the deck of my sink. No worries, because I can take it back for store credit. So I did. I found another great faucet, with white porcelain “hot” and “cold” knobs. It didn’t fit either. I’ll go back tomorrow and try again. I mean, who knew there were so many “standard” spacings for the holes where you put your sink fixin’s?

For the record, I have a three-hole sink, and the knobs are six inches apart on center.

loving this sink.

loving this sink.

So, tomorrow the plan is to get a faucet that’s gonna fit, bring it home, and install it. Then I’ll do the pipe. Since it will run down the front of the container, I bought some interesting blue spray paint to dress it up. The stock Band-Aid™ color is just grody.

Beyond that, I have no big plans for container work this weekend. I might just do something quiet and relaxing.

If I knew what that was.

new finds

A whim-trip to Value Village proved very productive yesterday. My goal was to find a mirror, and a piece of metal, perhaps an old cookie sheet, for my magnets.

I found a very nice, brand new polyester (hello, 70s!) shower curtain with a grey geometric pattern on it. It’s big enough to make into door curtains, but I think I will use it as the curtain over the under-bed storage area. I didn’t know I’d like the monochromatic look it lends, but I do.

I looked all over for a mirror. There were a few really ugly ones in with the framed pictures. I considered looking in the furniture area, afraid I’d only find something huge and ungainly. But, ta-da! I found a cheap white medicine cabinet with a mirror, two inner shelves, one outer shelf, and a towel bar for $15. Score! White isn’t my color, but I have some righteous poppy-red enamel that will make me do a happy dance. The towel bar is missing, but I have a metal curtain rod I can cut to size. A little glue, and voila, towel bar. If I screw up the metal, I can always go buy a dowel. A towel dowel.

Also found a valance, yellow with a few embroidered daisies, that just needs shortening to fit in my bird-watching window. Better than the heavy yellow ones I tried to make from salvaged material.

The kinda-kitschy, kinda cool find was a round metal luminaria with punched-out dragonflies and the word “welcome”. It is painted light blue, but I might paint it red. Or speckle it with warm colors like saffron, fuschia, indigo, and cerise. Or maybe just glitter and glue, ha ha.

I got a square pallet out back at Lowe’s last weekend, and I’m thinking I want to make a meditation platform out of it. The little rug right on the floor just gets dirty too quickly.

Still need a desk, but I may be able to salvage that from a pine shelf I once built. We shall see. The point is that it be on casters, so when I’m in my Poang I can use it, and when I’m not, I can store it pushed back over the chair. Custom cut, of course. Red? Black? Natural? Not sure. TBD.

No plate covers or mosaic yet. Soon. As in, sometime in the next four months. (I call all times soon, said Aslan.)

I haven’t given up on the pallet siding idea yet, but let’s be real, it’s winter in the Pacific Northwest and I won’t get a string of dry days until July.

recent improvements (little ones)

Moved some furniture around, hung some things, made it easier to walk through, and generally opened up the space. I’m just trying, at this point, not to get ahead of myself and definitely not to let the squirrel start her sprint-trial training.

I’ve learned that I don’t like the IKEA Lack shelves, because they are too thick, too long, and too heavy-looking. (Did I just say that?) I’m thinking of ways to use the remaining hot-tub wood to my advantage, but each piece has a different degree of curvature to it, and therefore probably won’t be well suited to a new life as a shelf.

I need to make a few shelves under the sink cabinet. There just isn’t a way to festively store sponges or Ziploc™ bags out in the open, no matter how cute a mug you put them in.

And now, after I post the pics, I’m going to take a hot bath and head to bed.







This feels pretty darn good.

The old hot tub had been sitting in the yard for two summers, gathering slime of the protococcus variety.  It was not able to be rehabilitated (though we saved the Chofu wood-fired boiler to be applied elsewhere, maybe with the clawfoot tub).  Last weekend I finally decided to disassemble the tub by undoing the one remaining strap.

The wood staves, even when soaked, came  away from the floor of the tub quite easily.  And then they lay in the wet grass, ignored.  Last night I brought in the pieces of floor and set them near the wood stove to dry out.  This morning, I was able to sand them and put them up.  I think they look spectacular and quirky, two of my favorite looks.  I forgot to take a picture of the paper towel holder, but it’s not ready yet anyway.  It’s the half-moon end of the floor section.  Pretty cool.

IMG_1122 IMG_1125


The electrician came today.  Some interesting facts were discovered.

First off, the GFCI outlet in the master bath controls the GFCI outlet in the other bathroom. Glen figured that out last night.  Done and done.

This morning, the electrician and I went over the issues: pantry light has an intermittent short, outlet TO the container is not working, outlet IN the container may not be hooked up correctly, and the interior and exterior light fixtures need to be installed and the circuit turned on.

Guess which outlet is ALSO controlled by the bathroom GFCI?  Yes – the outdoor outlet!  Was my face red!  After I move the shelf that’s blocking the electrical panel (yes, that will be dealt with permanently), I can turn on the circuit and see if I have connection.  If so, goodbye extension cord nightmare, aka Ode To Roy!

For the rest of the issues, the pantry and the lights, the grand total of the estimate was a whopping $137.  No prob, with Bob!  Now, I just have to do some prep myself, which means this project will be done . . .  approximately . . . later.

two months in.

It seems like forever since I posted. I had a fender-bender in my MINI that necessitated a break from heavy work on the cabin. However, I was still able to get several smaller things done, with A LOT of help. I also had plenty of time to let the Squirrel frolic in the Garden of Innumerable Future Ideas.

CULLING: When I first moved into the cabin, I made sure I had a lot of shelving already installed (and more in the works). I brought in a lot of my very special decorative and sentimental items, as well as office supplies and books. Under the bed, I set up shelves for mainly bigger items and tools. Now as I ease into the routine of living in the cabin, I find that I’m getting rid of or at very least consolidating even more. Having shelf space under the sink made it possible to move some routine items (cleaning, cooking, trash bags, dustpan). Individual items may at some point vie for priority, and when they do, I make the choice as best I can. It hasn’t yet come to deciding between something cherished or adherance to the downsizing philosophy.

YARD: Julie’s Construction delivered some crushed rock and now I have a patio area. It’s nothing super slick, but later on, with some creative edging, I think it will be really nice. I’m considering making my own border out of lumber ends glued together side-by-side. Every two feet or so, I could put in a long screw, which would be stuck into the ground. Not a super permanent method, but good enough.

LADDER: When I’m better, I will build (or have built, if I get impatient) a loft ladder out of 2×6 lumber (shoutout to Deke at Relax Shacks and a few tiny-house bloggers). I have the galvanized pipe and fittings to attach it securely to the top of the bed as a DIY rail. I’ll need to find two hooks to affix to the ladder. The leftover red enamel paint will look nice against the black bed frame, too.

BACKSPLASH: I have the supplies to make a mosaic backsplash for the sink, but first I need to really think through the size, the design, and the access to existing wall outlets which I would like to hide when not in use. My sister came up with the idea to make special tiles that would be glued onto plywood and would fit exactly into the cutouts I would make for the outlets. I have some old teacups, and I think it would be really cool to use them as the handles. I’m still scrounging all over for more mosaic materials. My sister donated a box of tiles from her ceramic business that I can smash up for the traditional tile parts. I have NO IDEA what the design will be, but there is plenty of time. Not a priority thing, just pretty. And it didn’t hurt the Idea Bank that I was at Grand Lodge this past weekend, soaking up their mosaic wonderments.

FLOOR SPACE: I sold my foldout couch/bed to a friend’s son for cheap, and now he’s got a place to sleep and relax, and I have floor space to stretch and do exercises. Above that area, I’m going to use folding supports to hang a work table; it would hang against the wall when not in use, and then be set at 70, 80, or 90 degrees. Sewing table when I want it, yoga and stretching space when I don’t. I can also probably eliminate the small cupboard I have, or at very least put it under the bed. Not sure what I want to do.

FLOORING: I always thought I would be happiest with the original floor, so I painted it butter yellow and forgot about it. Then my friend Eryn had to go and put Pergo in her son’s room and document it on Facebook, and I thought, damn, I could have a much nicer-looking floor! I only need to cover about 120 square feet, so the options won’t be too expensive. Armstrong school tile from way back in my elementary school days? Maybe. Reclaimed something-or-other? Possibly. Whatever I can find? Most likely.

SINK FRAME: With Maddie and Glen doing the heavy lifting, we were able to build a sink frame and set the sink on it. We made sure there were notches for the flanges on the bottom of the sink, so that it fits essentially flush with the rim of the sink. It’s painted black, which makes it look very good. Underneath, there is a shelf on either side of the drain area, where I can store cleaning supplies and my two-burner Coleman stove, JetBoil, and fuel. Oh, and the garbage can and recycling bin. There were enough curtain remnannts to make a skirt around the bottom of the frame. Bonus! And I think I may have a very nice piece of cabinet plywood to make into a sink cover for times when I may need more counterspace. My sink IS my counter, so I have to maximize the space, which at maximum is about nine square feet.

KITCHEN SHELVES: Well, I thought I was going to use the staves from the defunct wooden hot tub for pantry shelves, but they are only 3.5″ deep, and I’d have to use 3 for each shelf, possibly 4, to get any kind of adequate depth. So instead, I wil use the staves for exterior trim, and repurpose some of the weathered lumber we have out back for kitchen shelves.

PORCH AND PRIVACY: The three slatted closet doors I bought for my tall shelf didn’t work out there, so I’m going to build a small fence frame on piers and attach them to create a privacy screen. Once springtime fills in the leaves between me and my neighbors across the road, I will be able to cavort buck naked if I so choose. I made a little porch platform that’s fine, but I have to make a better roof. I’ll attach the existing roof panel (the piece that we cut out for the main door) to two 4x4s on piers, slanting it slightly back toward the cabin roof, where it will rest and therefore deposit rain water. No drips off the front edge, or so I hope.

ELECTRICAL STUFF: About six weeks ago I took one outlet out of the circuit, correctly reconnected the wires with wire nuts, and then promptly discovered that the plug on the outside of the house had lost its electrical supply. Not the the plug on the cabin, mind you, the one on the house. So I have a circuit in the cabin that is (assumed to be) complete, a 15-amp exterior line from the cabin to the house, and a defunct outlet. I don’t own any kind of testing meter, but I did the logical process of elimination: plugged in a lamp in the house to another outlet to verify the lamp worked, then took the lamp outside and plugged it into the exterior outlet. Nothing. Flipped the breakers, checked the connections inside the outlets, the whole nine yards.

Okay, so even if something isn’t right in the cabin, something is not right at the house’s exterior outlet either. The only other thing on that 15-amp circuit is the dishwasher, and it works fine. So somehow, at exactly the same time I rewired the circuit in the cabin, the outdoor outlet went tits up. Okay, sounds like a GFCI tripped, but where would one be between the outlet and the panel? The panel flips fine, wasn’t tripped, and neither was the one in the container. I’m totally stumped. Conveniently, there are several other outlets in the house on a different circuit that are not working (“MICE?” we ask ourselves), so the electrician is coming out on Thursday. Hell, while he’s here, I might as well have him install the pendant lights I bought, and we’ll be all set to go. Sigh. Let’s just get this done. I humbly admit that the electrical part of this project is not one I want to deal with.

CLADDING: Newest exterior idea: glue pallet wood to the container! I’ve seen a lot of examples (I was sucked into the Pinterest vortex last night, damn it). I can have rustic and funky at the same time. On the aptly named, I found advice for the best adhesive to use for this application, wood to metal, and it turns out to be Liquid Nails. Hey, I have that! Score.

WATER SUPPLY: Time to buy a 55-gallon food-grade plastic drum and put it on the roof. With a simple petcock and a few feet of PVC water line, I can have a real faucet situation. Later on, I’ll put in a french drain out back, and the runoff water will have somewhere to go. I’ll only be using Dr. Bronner’s in the sink, so no worries about polluting the environment. Time to look for a vintage faucet – any excuse to go to Earthwise Architectural Salvage.