Friday, January 6, 2012

A Pipe Dream into the final frontier

I don't know about you, but after only a few days rest and some inspiring trips and visits, I begin to think I can do anything. And if it looks easy? Fagettaboutit, it doesn't interest me.

So the final frontier, for me, is dealing with major plumbing stuff. Our old house has a mixture of copper, galvanized and even cast iron pipes attached to each other over the decades as new innovations came into being. I felt I needed to complete the partial copper piping of the house as the green, corrosion was starting to show in some parts. So after watching how to solder and repipe old houses on Youtube, I jumped right in. Wow! First of all, you can't just do a little repiping, stop and have lunch, talk to somebody and then get back to work, you have to go all the way or it means no water in the house in the evening. Soldering does take some skill and after battling with some poorly done soldering on my part, I finally got the hang of it and got into the habit of inspecting every inch of a new soldered joint before turning on any water. It took a few days, and it was pretty stressful and my hands cramped up pretty badly at times but I can say with great satisfaction that the hot water line is all new copper without any leaks. This project made the difficult brick patio job seem like a leisurely walk through a daisy covered meadow.

Thanks to Heather and Andrea's parents for providing the HD gift cards which nearly covered all the materials needed for this project.

The New Year and new DIY inspirations: Ikea

I don't care for Ikea products since they mostly seem bland and cheap looking. However, I've been developing a better sense of looking at something and rethinking what I could do with it.

We had one small but tall computer desk leftover from our apartment days and I was currently using another larger Ikea desk in my office that was too big. Rather than try and search for the perfect computer desk, I bought a set of L wrenches at HD( Thanks again Heather!) which then allowed me to take apart and assemble a brand new desk that really suited how I use the computer and peripherals. In addition, I think it looks pretty good and seems more steampunkish and fits the small office quite well.

Recharging the DIY batteries and leveling up Part 2

During the holidays we then went with my sister to visit the Stanford Cantor Museum which is free to the public and has many excellent works including several works by Rodin. On display also were plaster models used by sculptors to help flesh out some of their ideas. To me, it looked like they used drywall spackle to create these models. Since I am now a drywall spackle DIY pro, I can appreciate the tactile approach to artmaking and I fiddled with idea of making a small sculpture of my own out of drywall powder and water. And I am also more amazed and how real sculptor artists are able to create such beautiful pieces of art. Here I am trying to kick down Rodin's 'Gates of Hell'. We then went around antique shops and took pics of things that seemed interesting to us.

Recharging the DIY batteries and leveling up again.

The holidays don't usually mean it's time to put away the spackle and hammer. Indeed, the unusually pleasant winter weather and having Andrea home means we could do a few more things. I was able to do more to improve the kitchen and we spent some time together discussing what we should do to our house in 2012.

This is also a fun time to visit my creative sister, her husband, and Molly their guard dog. I really enjoy visiting my sister because her home is an inspiration to both me and Andrea. She once studied painting and has always brought an amazing sense of style and taste to anything she does. She currently is in the antiquing business and we love to go around with her this time of year to fish for good finds and to get home decor ideas. Whenever Andrea and I watch any type of home decor show, we are amazed at how bad their overall taste in things are. They also seem cold and not at all appealing. However, my sister seems to innately understand the fine line between art/color/style and placement when home decorating. It's inspiring to us to see what she has done to her home of 20 years and she's give us permission to post a view pics for your pleasure.