Tag Archives: Tumbleweed fencl

Little Yellow…


Is done 😀

I might just write that again, because it looks so very nice. And this time, I shall employ caps to convey the enthusiasm as effectively as type can: LITTLE YELLOW IS DONE!!!! Alright, I’m freakin’ excited. But after a year of planning, more than a year of building, and what felt like 5 or so years of anticipation, I have a house. A whole house 😀 I. Have. A. Home.

Can you believe it? I still can’t. I worked sporadically on little things here and there the last few weeks (mostly moulding and oiling of trim and moving my life in) until I began to run out of things to do. It started to look like more things were finished than not. Then I’d come up with something else to sort out, and then I’d see even more things finished then not. And then it finally happened…I’m actually done 😀

About 90 some percent of my things are inside now. Somehow I managed to decrease my pile of clothes from one that could feed a flock of cloth-eating monsters for weeks to the size of a reasonable suitcase. And don’t scoff, I’m pretty sure there were more than a few cloth-eating monsters in closets I’ve had.

Even with everything in, Little Yellow still feels open and airy with a surplus of storage. I honestly didn’t see that coming. I thought I’d have every nook and cranny squished to the brim with things I just couldn’t part with (that’s kind of what I usually do) and I’m so relieved that I don’t this time around.

Living in my tiny space feels ordinarily easy. I’m still not completely full time out here, but the transition has been the least amount of bother I could wish for. My shower is inches from my clothes which are inches from my shoes which are inches from my door. From waking up to dressed and ready takes about 15 minutes, just because there are so few distractions from one to other.

Except for the kittens, that is. Pìseag, the calico tabby girl (meaning little cat, I call her Pee-sha for short) and Sionnag my silver tabby boy (little fox, shun-a) are all over the place. Playing attack cats in the grass, bouncing from the floor to the bench, doing leaps over each other and going whole hog at that suspicious rug in the kitchen that they are sure is out to get them. Yesterday they learned how to climb the ladder and spent the whole of last night assaulting me with their happy (really loud) purring, one curled under each arm.

Guess what?? I’m moving up by San Francisco in 2 weeks! House and all, down the road I go 🙂 Or at least, that’s the plan. Nightmares of falling houses and flying roofs bumble around my head on a far too regular basis, but what can you do? Hope for the best, and remember the shit tons of screws I stuck into that thing.

Open house announcement:

I’ll be stopping a few places along the way for tiny open houses if any of you happen to be near! The thought for the time being is 1. in my town (about 1.5 hours out of LA) 2. San Luis Obispo, 3. Santa Cruz. Not sure if any others might creep up, but those are what make most sense. More information to follow!

Ok, one more time. Little Yellow is done! You might just call me a happy camper 😀


Of plumbing and leaks…


That’s right, leaks. The other day I went to test the water; connect the hose to the house, turn the bugger on, and wait for the terribly exciting sound of rushing water through the walls. Terribly exciting, that is, until you start having a look at the shut off valves that are undeniably weeping with the drip of death. Maybe I’m exaggerating, but when 5 out of 6 possible connections were leaving little puddles at the bottoms of my cabinets, my peace of mind went from la di da, to house leaking panic.

My nieghbour was equally stumped. Having put everything in with care (plus teflon tape), and never having seen so many leaks at one time, I began to consider possible plumbing curses that Little Yellow may have contracted. Not that I’ve made a point of pissing off any plumbers, but one has to wonder.

I felt really bad that things weren’t going according to plan and, seeing as it is my house, decided I ought to know how to fix this sort of stuff…so I picked me up a wrench and got to it. I flooded the underside of my cabinet taking the hose off, I smacked myself full in the face with the aforementioned wrench, and had a one sided screaming match with plumbing in general, but I fixed those %*@& leaks. You can just call me Ella the plumber 😀 (best not).

The dripping was only occurring at threaded connections leading up to the shut off valves, so I took them apart and put on new brass connecty bits as the old ones got totally buggered in the act of their removal. This time I used tape and pipe thread compound. Overkill, you say? It aint leaking, I don’t care.

I’m sorry to have been terrible at putting new posts up as of late. Things are going beautifully and Little Yellow is getting really close, but once I fall behind I find it hard to get up to date with so much missed information. It doesn’t help that my camera (his name is Harold. I don’t know why) has suffered a terrible melted chocolate incident that seems to have adversely effected his workings. He still takes pictures, though you can’t see what you’re taking pictures of, so I’ve also missed photographing some processes that ought to have been documented.

In any case, I aim to put up some summaries in the next few days. My sink, shower, door lock and cabinetry are all in, and my awesome futon bed has arrived! Oh, and I’ve stumbed upon two wee kittens that I don’t think I can live without 😀 The cat at the barn had 7 and most are on their way to being feral if they don’t get homes. It’ll be a little while before I take them (in the meantime I visit them every day) then in I go, head first to 2 cat responsibility. I’m excited!

Sink holes and light fixtures…


Gathering the nerve to cut into Flemming’s irreplaceable counter tops took a lot of thought. A lot of thought, a lot of measuring, and a lot of ‘you can do this’ talks with myself. But all went well, and I also drilled holes for the faucet behind. Somehow everything just barely fit in the tight space.

The faucet was presumably designed for a thinner counter, so I had to chisel down about 3/4″ between the knobs on the underside to make it work. I know the router would have been faster, but I didn’t want to risk it going all skully wompus on me and, in memory of Flemming’s approval of hand tools, I spent the time and did it the old fashioned way.

I ended up with a lovely stainless steel sink (16″ outer rim to rim) from Opella. The plan to use an old brass jelly pot fell by the wayside as it turned out to be just a little too small, so I bit the bullet and bought a proper one. Probably for the best though, because it came with a seriously nifty cutout template.

I’ve been slowly compiling my light fixtures for the last few months (the wonders of ebay), and it’s so exciting to see them all up! I have 6 lights on the inside; 1 from the ceiling, 1 over the window seat, 1 in the kitchen, 1 for the pink room, 1 for the bathroom, and 1 in my sleeping loft. I found the cheapest source of well made, solid brass fixtures (I adore brass) to be little, clear glass lantern types intended to be used outdoors. It cost $54 for all 4, and they make me think of fairies 😀

They are meant to be turned on and off by switch, but since I only have switches for the ceiling and window seat lights, my neighbour put in little pull chains through a hole drilled in the back and they now operate brilliantly at the source.

The main ceiling light/chandelier from hell was the hard one. The amount of space available at the ceiling peak is pretty narrow, and it was clear upon looking there was no chance the 5″ wide ceiling connect-y bit that is supposed to cover the workings was going to cut the mustard. The solution came in some kind of copper cup thing from the plumbing section at Home Depot that happens to match the fixture perfectly. My awesome neighbour rigged it so that it’s securely attached to the ridge beam and contains all the crazy wiring up there.

It certainly wasn’t easy though. I had idealistic plans of removing it every time the house goes down the road, but I can assure you that after the time and trouble that little shit gave us, I’ll just be taking out the light bulbs and wishing it luck. Guess I could bubble wrap it or something.

What a beautiful change to have all the lights up! It looks more and more like the space I want to live in with every day. And really, you pull a cord or flip a switch and the things just turn on. I like to think it’s magic 😀

Cabinets framed…


Perhaps nothing has caused more procrastination than my kitchen cabinets, and considering just how much procrastination I am capable of, this is really saying something. For a while my dad thought it’d be better to find someone else to make them, but Little Yellow is quite in need of her cabinets, so we have faced our fears and plowed ahead.

I bought a bunch of 1 x 3 pine to build the frame and we mostly based it on the cabinets in my parent’s house, since they are so conveniently there. This left us ripping the horizontal sections to 2″ and leaving the vertical ones as they were at just under 2 1/2″ I believe.

Have you heard of a Kreg jig? I hadn’t, but holy grandmother Moses is it a spiffy thing. My wonderful neighbor lent us his set-up and (having previously attempted dowling and biscuit joining) it was such a quick and excellent way to stick wood together that I was almost giddy during the framing stage. I think I’d like to keep this stuff on my bedside table, just for those springy, wood joining emergencies.

It is essentially a system that allows you to drill into wood at an exact angle, so by then screwing their fancy square headed screws in with a little Titebond III (great glue, strong as all heck), you effectively secure two sections. It worked really well for us and we had the frame up in no time. Before attaching it, we had to build a floor on the toe kick, make both sides with 1 x 6 tongue and groove, and stick a 2 x 2 support runner against the wall to hold the weight of the counters.

Being suckers for instant gratification, we put Flemming’s counters on as soon as we got the frame up, and what a sight. They are just breathtaking. I honestly believe they make the whole house.

Since then, my dad has started making the cabinet drawers and I’m on doors. By spectacularly fantastic luck, the 1/4″ wall paneling fits like a freakin’ dream into the groove of 1 x 6 T&G, so all I’ve had to do is rip the 1 x 6 down a little, chop saw 45 degree angles on it, stick some panels in the middle and Bob is most certainly your uncle.

I’ve been biscuit joining/ gluing them together with pretty good success, and I have to say I’m darn proud of my wee doors 😀 There are 4 on the main cabinets (one big under the sink, two smaller beside it, and one smaller still at the L corner) and 2 on the little linen closet cabinet thing I built in the space between my two tall shelves.

I decided it would be a good idea to have another closed off space for various, not necessarily kitchen related storage, so I tested out what my dad and I did for the big cabinet framing and made my own little one. I used cedar for the shelf, as I hear it’s good for such things that hold fabrics, but I’m not sure what I’ll do for the counter. Nothing can really compare to the master carpentry of Flemming’s, so I’ll likely end up doing something pretty plain.

I’m so happy to have the semblance of a kitchen!!! I simply can’t wait til it’s functioning. On the subject of kitchens, apparently I can navigate jig, miter and table saws, but those paring knives still pose a viable threat. Twice I’ve cut myself with the damned thing in the last week, twice.

I’ll put up clearer pictures of the counters soon 😀

Of corner shelves and window trim…


For some reason, I’ve started calling the back/changing room adjacent to the bathroom ‘the pink room’. It’s not pink, nor shall it be as I’m not particularly wild over large amounts of the colour, but that’s what it has named itself and I can’t seem to shake it.

Last week, the pink room got corner shelves. Lovely, crooked corner shelves with irregular spacing…but there you go. I stand that if I had a third arm or so they’d be perfect 😀 Making 45 degree angle cuts on the 1×12 pine took two runs through the chop saw for each side and I attached them to the wall with 3/4″ cedar strips.

I was going to use galvanized corner braces to hold the shelves up, but those little buggers aren’t cheap when you buy enough of them. I also decided that I didn’t like how they looked (probably because of this), so I ran some cedar fence boards through the table saw and they provide perfectly adequate support. Best to nail each strip to the bottom first though unless you want the shelves to slide off and on. Don’t try to attach them to the wall at the start, what a faff. Hammering up-the-way is not a calming task.

As of yesterday, I finally have all of my window trim up. All of it, wahaha! This is exciting mostly because it makes things look pretty and finished, but also because my indecisiveness regarding them was so vast as to take several weeks of delaying. I put 1 x 2-and-whatever-each-window-is-wide pine boards in first (it shouldn’t come as a surprise they’re all different) then trimmed them with 1/4″ tongue and groove pine wall paneling. I decided to make them swirly, sort of like my fascia boards outside, and cut each one with the jigsaw. It didn’t take as much time as I thought, and I’m glad I put the extra effort in. My windows look so pretty now 😀

It is worth noting that I bought shorter (3′ long), slightly more expensive wall paneling for my trim that is intended to be wainscoting, and the quality of wood was considerably better than the 8′ bundles I used for the walls and ceiling. Good to know if you’re working on something that doesn’t require longer boards.

And now, one of those horrible gripping moments for you. I woke up the other day to some tree pruning going on across the street where a flatbed trailer had been brought in to haul out the debris. A 7′ x 18′ trailer I’m pretty damn sure, and when I looked out the window in my half-sleep haze, I was in an absolute panic that I had dreamed my house’s existence and had to go back to the floor framing stage. It didn’t take long to trip downstairs and assure it was still sitting pretty out there, but gad zooks. A beastly, beastly feeling!

Of shelving and pine floors…


These last few weeks have been a bit mad, and progress has taken a back seat for a while to life and visiting family. Still, I have been working on and off on my storage/shelf/closet and am getting closer to having the hitch end interior walls insulated and paneled.

The storage unit will consist of two contained side closets for clothes or the like and open shelves in the middle that are accessible from the kitchen. I originally had 2 x 2 lumber all ready to go with plans for covering the framing in wall paneling, but I couldn’t make my mind believe that it would turn out very well so I did me some shelf research and changed the whole plan.

Instead, I said screw it to the extra weight and got five, 1 x 12 x 8 pine boards because I just love the way it looks. Most of the time I don’t really know what the heck I’m doing, but know what I wanted to achieve and made the closest thing my abilities could muster. It’s a bit wonky, but it’s probably only me that will notice and think I’m pretty much over the ‘perfect’ thing. Just as well I’m planning on putting non breakable things on these shelves though, most of them have slight, nicely alternating asymmetrical tilts… I should get the middles ones better now I’ve gotten the learning curve.

My flooring arrived yesterday! I say arrived, and by that I meant that I somehow fit it all into my car and drove up the hill a bit slower than usual so as not to upset its precarious balance. It is 3/4″ x 5 1/8″ unfinished white pine tongue and groove boards at 6′ lengths from Lumber Liquidators, great stuff from what I can see so far. I ordered it over a month ago but pine flooring is apparently not in very high demand so it had to get milled and shipped from far off wherever. Don’t think they were too jolly about my needing such a small amount either.

I chose pine for several reasons, and it fit my list of flooring criteria brilliantly. Firstly, I didn’t want a shiny, prefinished floor that I’m afraid to walk on. They’re beautiful, but I’m not big on how the inevitable scratches look white and I don’t like the idea of the lacquer stuff they put on there to begin with. Secondly, I wanted something as light as I could possibly get my hands on. A friend lent me a 3′ piece of 1/2″ bamboo flooring that is really lovely, and weighs easily as much as one of the 6′ pine. Thirdly, I really wanted to get something that didn’t cost me my teeth, and at $1.19 a square foot, it beat out anything I’d previously considered.

My parent’s house has a pine floor and I LOVE it. It’s scratched up like nobody’s business and covered in dents and marks after 20 years of footsteps and dropping things, and I just think it’s beautiful. I suppose you could call it ‘rustic’. Installation will be more of a faff because I’ll have to finish it myself, but I believe it will be worth it in the long run.

In any case, I am going to visit friends on a whirlwind trip to the east coast for two weeks tomorrow. It’s not a very smart decision progress wise and it’s certainly not one of the better financial decision I’ve ever made, but I’m young and allowed to do irresponsibly adventurous things, right? I hope you all have a wonderful April 🙂 Away I go!


The house of my dreams…


Recently I’ve been dreaming about my house. Not the kind of fairyland dreams I might prefer, but dreaming nonetheless. I tend to be working on things like wall paneling, and it can seem as mundane as real life except when I wake up, I have to do everything over again. Sometimes it’s about my roof flying off in a mad tornado (boy, we get a lot of these in Southern California) or the trailer driving off without the house on, but whatever it is, it fills my sleep almost every time I close my eyes.

Last night I dreamed that I was done with my house. I knew I was done with it, and I had someone over to show it to. But somehow my house wasn’t little. It was massive, and I kept wandering around trying to figure out where my compact space had gone. It was quite a nice large house, with lots of long hallways and a big couch but the only thing I could do was worry about having to wash all of the windows. I remember feeling nervous and uncomfortable looking at the couch and kept saying ‘there’s nowhere for me to sit’.

Just before I woke up, I walked out to the big house’s bare yard to see Little Yellow in the driveway and was so happy that I could finally sit down. Isn’t the mind a funny thing?

This weekend is filled with big fluffy snowflakes that pile up quickly and make the creaky snow plow work doubletime. My roof was covered until it started melting this morning and slid off the shiny surface in the most lovely curved pattern. Ah, the things one can appreciate when one’s house is weather proof.

I honestly haven’t gotten any work at all in today. With a bunch of layers on it’s not so bad out there, but I spent my time doing research on various things I’ll have to buy soon enough. And of course watching the never ending bird feeder soap opera out the big house window.

The railing is laden with at least 6 inches of snow and the squirrels do the most ridiculous dives over themselves to try and run along it. We’ve gotten a big flock of rock pigeons crowding the feeder the last few days (this week’s drama) and Clyde is not happy about the intruders. I’ve learned not to underestimate the squirrels in these parts though. He doesn’t just run like the devil through their lunch and send them pell mell in all directions every time they land, he has also taken on the hanging bird feeder again.

This time he figured out that the food goes into the top and succeeded in prying the lid off enough to stick his fat head through. I think the manufacturers should consider relabeling their product from ‘squirrel proof design’ to a more realistic ‘squirrel engaging design’.