Friday, February 7, 2014

Oh No, You Didn't!

Oh yes, we did.

I know I said that 2013 would be all about getting our Little Old House's exterior spruced up. A whole new color for the ol' gal.

I wrote a detailed email about how we chose our color scheme here and even created some clip art to show everything went together, both on our house and for the big picture aka our blog of the 'hood.

Then this happened - husband finally spoke up that he really didn't like the colors we'd agreed on, and all our plans went, well, to hell in a handbasket. Back to the drawing board it was. After all, the exterior is such a big project that you better 'like' if not 'love' what you put on there since repainting it wasn't going to happen.

We spent weeks painting different shades of blue on the back of our house, until we finally broke down and mixed out own because they all were either too blue, too light, too dark, too grey, too green - well, you get the idea.

Then summer rolled around and all of our plans came to a screeching halt.
Sloshing halt, really, because last year's summer was hot and rainy and miserable.
Mosquitoes grew to the size of helicopters, it was hotter than Hades, and if it wasn't, it sure was pouring buckets whenever we had spare time to actually do paint the house.

The back of our house continued to look like this throughout the remainder of the year. Fall came, and with it nicer weather. It was still wet - wetter than in past years - but there were plenty of nice weekends, just right for painting, and yet.
No painting got done.
We deliberately procrastinated.
No kidding.
I was so not ready to pull the trigger, no matter how much I hated the scruffy look of our little old house.
Then, just a little over a week ago, I caught myself playing with the Sherwin-Williams Color Visualizer, and I realized that while we found a blue we liked, I never quite liked it for our house.

Our little old house just isn't a house that wants to be blue.
History repeating, eh? Now it was my turn with the 'I don't hate it, but ...' spiel.

Before confronting the husband with what had been nagging on my mind for the past months, I kept on playing. I'd recently hit a Craftsman style streak (more on that sometime within the next couple of weeks) and dug deep into the concept of Craftsman style sensibilities. While our house is not a proper Craftsman-style house - its architecture is a bit muddled down - it's a bit Craftsman and Bungalow influenced. We'd already talked about emphasizing rafter tails and such, but playing with the color program I decided to give our little old house a Craftsman make-over, even going so far as to playing with a two-tone color scheme.

And BAM!
That's when I found it: THE color scheme (no, really, this is it).
The moment I painted on the two-tone color scheme on the back of the house (virtually, of course), the architecture of the back of our house where all original features have been lost due to the enclosing of the two small back porches and the second-story addition which now houses our master bath and the dressing room started to make sense again instead of looking bland and faceless!

 I know that it's difficult to understand my excitement over this color scheme when all you have to look at are these pictures. They really could be better ... you know, this one was taken in really rotten weather and it doesn't do anything to prettify the back of our little old house (nor does the stack of wood leaning against the a/c compressor).
 This one - taken and modified online with the color scheme - I snapped to show the husband how the two-tone color scheme would look on the side of our house. He was a bit concerned at first about having a two-tone house in green (a dark sage green/ Sherwin-William's "Oakmoss") and gold (a rich, earthy gold / Sherwin-William's "Bosc Pear") next to a green house and a yellow house, but these colors are very different from the colors of the other two houses so there's nothing to poke fun at.

The real kicker came when I bought two testers with these colors to try them on the house. Nothing is more important than to test your paint on the object of your desire - no, really. Light, sun exposure and shade, and even the texture of your siding make a -huge-  difference in how you perceive your color and how true it will look compared to your paint chip. In all cases prior to this, every color I'd picked required massive ttweaking - going darker, going lighter, going greyer, etc.

These two?
Spot. On.
 And then I discovered this gem in one of my books - a historic craftsman influenced historic house with a two-tone color scheme (green on top) and and off-white/yellow at the bottom. Score!

I'm so stinkin' excited to get started painting I'm rotating on the spot while waiting for an available weekend with good weather!

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Plug'er Up!

 Getting our porch light to actually light up again did require running a new cable. Running the new cable became a much more interesting project than our electrician anticipated, and in the end we ended up with a couple of holes drilled into our porch ceiling.

You know, like this ...

[I like seeing a peek of the original porch ceiling color - who would have thought it used to be such a bold shade?]

I'm a little embarrassed to say it has indeed taken me -this- long to find a round-to-it to plug up these unsightly holes. I blame their location - out of sight, out of mind - because I don't often walk across my porch looking up at the ceiling.

Aaaaaanyways ... today was the day! I even had everything in place to take care of business. No extra runs to the home improvement store necessary!

After cutting a piece of shim to size plugging up the narrow slit and plugging the drill hole with a piece of dowel I decided to mix up a small batch of Bondo to fill up the remaining spaces. I wanted to carve the channels of the beadboard into the patched surface and Bondo would take better to this kind of treatment than ordinary wood filler.

Here we are, with all holes plugged up. It's looking better already - who'd have thought!
Next: paint! However, since that's exterior paint we're talking about this opens a whole other pandora box ... stay tuned!

Monday, February 3, 2014

NomNom: Little Old House Bread Pudding

This Sunday I made bread pudding for breakfast, so I thought I'd share this little special treat with you. It's been a while since I last posted a recipe here at the Little Old House blog, so here we go.

Bread pudding is a really simple thing to make: bread, eggs, butter, brown sugar, a splash of vanilla, and maybe a handful of raisins, for kicks and giggles. Together with some crispy bacon, sweet butter, and maple syrup this is top notch comfort food, especially when the weather is miserable (or to celebrate the sun after a cold and dreary week).

There are plenty of recipes for bread pudding out there, and because I usually wing it and don't have actual measurements for the ingredients I throw into it other than a general list of things that simply belong, this is not what this "recipe" is about.

It's about using the right bread. Traditionally bread pudding calls for stale bread. I have used plain wheat toast, whole wheat toast, Challa bread, but nothing, nothing, NO-THING turns bread pudding into the decadent, "one more spoon!" kind of treat than using croissants.


Use them.
For your bread pudding.
You won't regret it.