Tuesday, October 13, 2009

The unveiling of the nearly complete upstairs bedroom!

Ok, so this time it's been a REEEALLY long time since I posted so I'm just going to jump right in....when we last spoke, we had just finished insulating and just started sheet rocking...

Ta daaaa......Completed sheet rock. As you can see it has already been mudded. Which means....

...Time for sanding...which is apparently a very dirty job. I think he gets dirtier than necessary to show how hard he's working. You know, like a woman throwing flour on herself while cooking. Anyway...

Here we have just primed the walls. He says it's easier to see bumps in the sheet rock/mud if it's all the same color.

Sanding the floors! This was really exciting to finally get to test our theory that these floors COULD BE restored. Until now, they were completely covered in stain, paint, dirt & dust...

See the difference? It's amazing what sanding can do....Now it's time to paint the walls. I picked a pretty, calm blue.

See, I'm doing work. Painting and staining are my specialties. Giles' specialties are....everything else :)

And now....the moment we've all been waiting for...the unveiling of the nearly complete upstairs bedroom....drum roll please....

We've moved into this room (from across the hall in the incomplete master bedroom where we were staying). It's nice to finally be able to walk around without flip-flops! We love this room. We also installed dimmer switches for the lighting so it feels very cozy. All that is lacking is finishing the trim around the walkway between the bedroom area and the office area and the trim around the windows in the office area.
We have a joke between us...we finish out every sentence concerning our house with "someday." Our someday is getting closer everyday...

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Why'd the chicken cross the road....seriously, why?

You thought I was kidding.....but no! Our neighbor from across the street keeps chickens (for what reason I'm not exactly sure) but as Giles and I were resting on our porch last Saturday, here it comes....from across the road (I tried to ask him why he did it but he pleaded the 5th).

Here he is on his way back home. Giles is a skilled chicken whisperer and caught him with little to no trouble.

Ok...Here's what what has transpired with the house...

This is a shot inside our return air vent of how Giles re-routed our wiring to get it to where it needed to be to connect to the box downstairs.

Here's a shot at some of the new wiring. Giles says it's "pretty." I think if you are calling Romex "pretty" you've been working too long and need to get some fresh air. But I guess even I can appreciate the aesthetics of it compared to the jimmy rigged death trap that preceded it...

Another "pretty" wiring shot.

Insulation! This will save us tons of money (seeing as our house currently has NO insulation) AND hopefully get us a nice tax credit ;)

Yes! The first piece of sheet rock! We're really on our way now! And in all seriousness, I think putting up 12 foot peices of sheet rock on the ceiling BY YOURSELF should be an olympic event...Giles gets the Gold, Silver AND Bronze. I'll have to take a picture of the "wooden helper" he constructed to hold up one end of the sheet rock while he's screwing in the other end.....do you see why I call him MacGyver?

Ta ta for now! Talk to ya soon!

Friday, May 1, 2009

More Fun Finds....and Work

Here's some interesting things we found since we last spoke :)

I found another one of these on the internet and they called it a "World War II Bond Bread Advertising Airplane Ink Pen Blotter" some people refer to them as "advertising cards." Whatever they are, pretty neat huh?

This is an antique key we found by a small miracle. It had apparently been hanging out in our backyard for who knows how long. Well, one weekend we were cleaning out our backyard some more (picking up the extra rocks, sticks, dirt etc left from years past and from the ice storm) after we had a trailer full, we headed off to the dump to unload it all. We arrive at the dump (and to add to the fun, it's now raining) and my husband is about to start shoveling it all from the trailer to the bin at the dump when he notices a small, mud covered key laying on top of some dirt in our trailer. IMAGINE THE ODDS! If that key had been anywhere else in that trailer except for the very top, where he HAPPEND to glance over, it might be lost forever! THE DRAMA...THE TRAGEDY....but I digress....now onto the work!

This is a photo showing how the eves on the side of the house are sagging and pulling up the beams in the ceiling. How do you pull them down? Well obviously with a come-along and a few sturdy screws.

See? It worked! The boards are now back together! Sweet success!

Now, how do you do the same thing when there is no beam directly below the ceiling beam to brace onto and pull it down? Well, you create one of these things shown above (partially my idea by the way).

And when that doesn't create enough pulling power but you still have inches to go? You create pushin power by strapping a jack to the top and pushing it down. Of course!

We now also have a framed in future bathroom which will join and be shared by these two bedrooms. Isn't it beautiful?!

Seen from the other bedroom.

And now, some lovely photos of our new front flower beds that we planted last weekend. We wanted to give the front a little color but didn't want to plant heavy shrubs etc since we will be redoing the porch in the near future. Enjoy!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Honey Beez and Taxes

We've finally completed the demo in our upstairs bedrooms. However, not without a few "incidents."

As I was doing some wall demo and knocking down the plaster, I could see something through the lath boards. I began to pull the lath boards off one by one to get a better view of what the thing was. As I pulled each lath board off, the thing would continue up under the next and I just kept pulling and pulling until I got to the top of the wall. It was a giant rotted BEE HIVE. Weird! Well, we thought that was that...until we started the demo above the window next to the bee hive. LAYERS OF HONEY COMB!

We were also once again amazed at the quality craftmanship of the previous home owners. This is apparently a wall...on top of a wall.

Also, Giles informed me that this is not the proper way to put together a ceiling.

But even better was the ceiling mold we found under that bang up ceiling job (we assume the mold is the reason for the ceiling work).

But we finally got all of the ceiling torn out.

Also, while Giles was patching up the floor (where we tore out the door to make the arch ways)Giles found something under one of the old floor boards.

This is a better photo of what we found. The one we found is a little more scuffed up. We couldn't quite make out what the token said other than "Oklahoma" on one side and "For Old Age Assitance" on the other side. So when I got to work, I googled the phrase "For Old Age Assitance" and there were several responses indicating it was an old Tax Token. Here's what I found out:
Merchants had to pay sales tax to the state on the total amount of sales made by the merchant during each day’s sales. You can imagine that if the sales tax rate is 3% and a child buys a 10c piece of candy there is no way to collect the three-tenths of one cent. If you rounded down that meant that the merchant could not collect anything for the tax. If you rounded up the state was gaining 7 tenths of a cent on every 10 cent sale. You can see that if the merchant sold 100 pieces of candy he was loosing 30 cents a day in tax revenues to the state, so the token was born. This allowed the merchant to take 11 cents for the first piece of candy and give change back in mills. The next time you wanted to buy a 10c candy you could present the merchant with the 10c and a token and complete the transaction. This allowed the merchant to collect the sales tax on each transaction.

A mill is 1/1000th of a dollar or a tenth of a cent. As you can imagine, people did not like having to carry a second set of coins, and to further complicate matters, different states issued different tax tokens. 1 and 5 mills are the most common denominations, but other denominations include: 1/5 cent, 1 1/2 mills, and "Tax on 10c or less."

There are over 500 different sales tax tokens that can be collected from 13 commonly issued states. I include Ohio stamps because most of the collectors do to. There is also anti-sales tax token memorabilia from many other states to collect. Most tokens are inexpensive and fairly easy to come by. All in all over a billion sales tax tokens are estimated to have been produced. Most coin dealers have no idea what to charge for these tokens, Many tax tokens are quite common, and can often be found in coin dealer "junk boxes" for as little as 10 cents. Others tokens are known to be much scarcer, however they too sometimes show up in “junk boxes” from time to time. A few, such as the New Mexico 5 mill black fiber are truly rare, and worth up to $100. There are also much sought after pattern tokens made by the manufacturers to win the contracts for minting from the states that issued them.

State issued sales tax tokens vary widely. Copper, brass, paper, cardboard, fiber, aluminum, zinc, plastic and even wood were used. Many were colored. The language ranged from Arizona's practical: "to make change for correct sales tax," to blunt in Louisiana: "Public Welfare Tax Token" and Oklahoma: "For Old Age Assistance." Perhaps my favorite is Missouri’s second generation Milk-Cap token. “… helping to pay for old age pensions, support of public schools, care of poor insane and tebercular patients in state hospitals and relief of needy unemployed in the state of Missouri.”

On the reverse side it says “Oklahoma Consumers Tax”

I think this is the one we have:

308.OK-5#7,S-5 Oklahoma Consumers Tax for Old Age Assistance.AL,RD,23mm,HAM. 1 mill,XF $2,UNC $8.00

(the AL stands for aluminum and the HAM “holed as made”)

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

More Demo & Fun Finds!

We had an extended (4 day) weekend due to the New Years Holiday. So how did we spend our holiday? You guessed it! Working on the house.

So this is about where we left off last time. The plaster is torn off the lath boards and a closet has been torn out (you can see the studs still in place to the left). This weekend's project is to take out the doorway (seen on the left) and widen it to make the front part of the room and the sleeping porch portion of the room (pictured here) seem like one larger/suite-like room.

Before we can start widening the door, we have to move a light switch and outlet that is currently next to the door. We have a mixture of electrical wiring in our house. As seen above, we still have some of the old knob and tube wiring (some of which is still in use, some has been left in the wall after it has been replaced with romex etc...."Hello, and welcome to todays episode of LET'S...GET...ELECTROCUTED!!")
While Giles works on rewiring, I continue to take down plaster & sheetrock in the front part of the room. Fist I wanted to attack the chimney pictured here. We know there is brick behind this plaster because below this room is our kitchen which has a brick chimney exposed which extents through the attic. I'm hoping the brick is still in good shape since we plan to leave it exposed.
Luckily the brick is in great condition. The hole towards the top is an old vent. We will most likely find a nice wrought iron vent cover for that.

As we tear off the sheet rock on the wall opposite of the brick chimney, we uncover layers and layers of wallpaper covering the old plaster. (Note: If old wallpaper doesn't interest you, you can skip over the next few photos. I think it's interesting! Who knows how old some of this stuff is! We guessed the top layer alone is probably at least 40-50 years old!)

Here is a closer look at what the top layer of wallpaper looks like. A lot of it was still in suprisingly good condition (probably from being protected by the sheetrock).

Underneath the first layer, the next decernable layer had little pink and blue flowers which looked almost hand painted when you got up close. You can also see that there has been some water damage in this area (which is probably the reason it was covered by sheetrock). I kept a sample of each wallpaper type I found (I'm just sentimental like that I guess...after all, it's part of the history of our house!).
This is the next thing we found. Giles found this when he was doing some more plaster demo in the other room. For some reason someone cut this photo out of a Magazine. It looks like they started to cut her out from the background she was printed on but for some reason they stopped. It was also cut into 3 distinct/even sections. I think this was part of a puzzle. There are numbers out to the side of the photo and on the back of this photo there is type from an old magazine explaining the rules for "the puzzle." The name of the magazine was "Photoplay Magazine." Photoplay was one of the first film fan magazines. It was founded in 1911 in Chicago. Photoplay began as a short-fiction magazine concerned mostly with the plots and characters of films at the time and was used as a promotional tool for those films. Beginning in 1920, Photoplay gave out what is considered the first significant annual movie award, the Photoplay Medal of Honor (later Gold Medal). An actual medallion was produced by Tiffany & Co. Photoplay reached its apex in the 1920s and 1930s and was considered quite influential within the motion picture industry. The magazine was renowned for its beautiful artwork portraits of film stars on the cover. Photoplay ceased publication in 1980.

Here is one of the many cover archives I found online for Photoplay Magazine.

Here's Giles working on the doorway opening. Since we had to take out some structural studs to widen the doorway, Giles had to reinforce the remaining studs and top beam so the house wouldn't become unstable ( you can see the support beam on the left is about four 2X4's thick).
Well, here it is folks! Our newly widened doorway! Isn't it beautiful?! This little project got us energized to keep going and get these two rooms finished quickly. It's really cool to see the house transformed little by little each week!
We'd like to thank Tucker for all of his help this week. We couldn't have done it without him :)