Sunday, December 24, 2006

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Merry Christmas

We've been busy! Someone stopped by the house today and said she hoped we would be finished with the house by next Christmas...arrgghhhh!! I said something clever like " We will be unless...uhhhh....we're dead or something." People just don't understand the time it takes to build especially when it's not a production build. Oh well, some just don't get it.

Here are the exterior lights I painted yesterday. They were a powder white and we wanted them to look galvanized. There are some excellent spray paints on the market now and you can get just about any finish/look you want. I LOVE paint! I think the lights look great-they will be on either side of the garage door, one on the people door of the garage and 2 on the south entry.

These I found on eBay for the ridiculous price of about $9.00 apiece. They are very sturdy lights and came with compact fluorescent bulbs-GONGA d
Here are the "stoops" we made in order to be able to get our CO. This is the slate I found on Craigslist and will eventually be the front porch/patio but for now it's appearing as the door stoops. The coloration of the slate is beautiful.

My project for today was to tape the joints on the brown walls. We asked that the rockers hang the rock wrong side out so that I would have a unsealed surface to apply the earthen plaster. When Rick asked the contractor if he had ever hung drywall brown side out he replied: "Not on purpose". I taped the joints with the standard mesh tape and homemade joint compound. To make this I used clay and a bit of sand sifted through a window screen. To the dry ingredients I added water and allowed the clay to hydrate. I then added a bit of homemade wheat paste (cooked flour/water). When combined it looks like chocolate mousse, almost good enough to eat. I taped the seams and applied the mud as usual but didn't have to worry about smoothing it as another layer of earthen plaster will be applied. One bright note, if you've ever drywalled you know you have to be careful of the "mud" drying because it leaves "rocks" in the mix which makes the knife work difficult to say the least. With the real mud this is not a problem, it all just mixes together and re-incorporates beautifully.

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This is looking into our compact kitchen-it will be so efficient. Lovin' it!
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This is a shot of one seam mudded, one seam just taped and the brown side of the drywall.
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Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting Cooking lunch in our solar oven.

We may work some tomorrow-or we may just sit, listen to Christmas carols and drink coffee. No matter, we wish you and yours a Merry Christmas and a Prosperous and Happy New Year!

Friday, December 22, 2006

Another week has passed

and things are rockin' and rollin' at the house. The drywallers are hanging the "rock" today and will come back next week to tape. Drywall really changes the look of things.

The garage door has arrived, the garage is being wired, the lot is being graded, the furnace will be tested today...lots going on. What's left to finish? Here's the To Do list:

Kitchen cabinets
Bathroom cabinets
Exterior lights (I'm painting those today)
Interior lights
Interior plaster
Adobe veneer on LR wall
Seal floor
Carpet in boy's bedrooms
Hang doors
Install sola-tube
Install WB stove

Quite a list! Onward and upward.

Most importantly- today our younger son, Joe, turns 14! Happy Birthday Joj!

Friday, December 15, 2006

Playing in the Mud
Plaster Party

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Last Saturday some friends came to help celebrate my birthday and apply the first coat of interior earthen plaster. We had a great time and thanks to Sam, Connor, Dave and Shayne, who kept us supplied with mud, we were able to get the first coat done by about 1pm.

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Amy and Olga

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Sam and Shayne

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Thel...errrr Loui......uhhh Robin!

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New acquaintances, Phyllis and Mary, who hope to build a strawbale cabin in NM.

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I must have been tired, because the camera shook. This is Mariel who came with her husband Bill and MIL Elsa. They also helped with the wall-raising and Bill helped put the roof on.

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Casey, Me, Donna

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Karen and Victor

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Rick, Michelle

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Lunch time!

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Finished wall-we had to leave that space above the first course because we hadn't had the electrical inspection yet.
We have now been inspected and we passed! But not before having to run out and buy and install fire alarms....duhhh!

We were so busy we didn't get pictures of everyone but we sure appreciate all the help and encouragement.

We now have the garage roof finished and the "driveway", all 4 feet of it, poured. Victor will begin the stucco on Saturday.

Kitchen cabinet decisions have been made-they will be Plyboo! I was having a difficult time deciding what to use then picked up a copy of one of those glossy home mags and there it was, The Answer. I was drawn to the mag because our neighbor's house is on the cover. This issue is dedicated to "green" building and living.

Friday, December 08, 2006

In search of Red Clay in So Arizona

If you know of a spot where there is reddish clay that I can dig-please leave me a comment. I want it for the window trim so don't need much.

In search of other colors, I went to
Originate yesterday and bought some pigments. The store has a nice variety of natural building supplies and if she doesn't have what you need she might be able to find it for you. I bought yellow ochre and green pigments. The finish plaster in the living areas of the house will have the yellow ochre added for just a bit of color. Our current house came with an old gold paint in the living room and it is such a cheerful, warm color. I love it, but I would probably never have painted any room yellow on my own. The sparkly stuff is mica-I'm going to add that to the dragonfly wings and also some of the interior plasters. What fun!

Be on the look-out for red clay!
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Monday, December 04, 2006

What We Did This Weekend...

Coated burlap with clay slip and hung it for the wood to bale transition...

added bamboo to a corner transition (stencil will come later)...

cleaned up the cement stucco...

and took all that
disgusting plastic off the windows and doors and stood back and admired!

But then I realized "Yikes, (I hang around Olga too much) it's December!" I'm one of those who likes to have the Christmas cards (I love Christmas cards AND the newsletters) done by Thanksgiving and Christmas shopping mostly completed by my birthday (Dec 7, the Day that will Live in Infamy). So now it's the 4th and nothing, zip, nada. But, NPR to the rescue! As I was driving to Civano on the weekend I heard a story about Mighty Goods. I'm saved! I'm off to cyberspace to shop, I can be finished by the 7th!

Saturday, December 02, 2006

The Garage That Ate the House!

Coming Soon to a Theatre Near You

Looks huge, huh? It is pretty huge but remember, this is the BACK of the house (but probably the side most people will approach the house). We had to have a garage so might as well have a decent sized one. It will provide a place for the freezer, w/d and tools, so it is utilizing non-conditioned space for things that don't require conditioned space and/or produce heat. Also you might notice the slope on the roof beams. When it rains, this will provide water for landscape purposes and the solar panels will live up there.

Remember, this the front of the house. (before plaster)

That's Sam and me finishing up the plaster on the south side. The blue tarps are to keep the sun from drying out the plaster. I worked without one the first day and what a mistake. It's just too dry with the intense sun to be able to finish it the way it needs to be done. Luckily the temperatures were only in the 70's during the day.

Now I just need to complete the west wall. And I have the tools to do that now!

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Final Plaster...

looks good! We were able to finish about 1/3 of the exterior yesterday but boy, were we tired.
But it was a good tired, as Rick likes to say. And the results of the labor are beautiful.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

For this, I am Thankful,

My Mom doesn't have to spend Thanksgiving alone,
My family,
A 17 yr old who dresses in black but has a smile that lights up the room and a sparkly wit,
An almost fourteen year old who asks the most soul-stirring questions,
That I have the time to listen and to discuss those questions (they are often unanswerable) ,
A husband who builds and doesn't mind my "change orders" (not much, anyway),
All the trades we've encountered who still take pride in their work and see it as a craft,
All those who have stopped by during building and given us encouragement,
The friends who have helped with the building ,
A vocation I enjoy, an avocation I love,
That I still feel excitement at hearing the cadence of a marching band,
Things that are so beautiful they bring tears to my eyes,
Books that I want never to end,
Tucson sunsets

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

The garage floor is poured!

Things are moving now. The garage looks like it takes an enormous amount of space-but it's all relative to the size of the lot. It's a normal 2 (1.5 usually!) car size. It will also house our W/D and freezer.

Here are some more photos of The Big Pour. Framing next week and then Victor will come back to stucco it.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Some work did happen over the weekend

A friend came over and helped me hash out the design for the west wall. And she brought me chai, she fielded questions from curious passersby and we laughed alot-what could be better?

Kiko Denzer does beautiful work in clay. I can learn a lot from his style. He has a great book on building earthen ovens which I used for the oven we had at our previous home. The book is much more than the mechanics of building an oven-it's about the importance of bread, "the Bread Cycle" and our relationship with the world around us. A quote-"Life doesn't ask us to buy, it asks us to participate-to watch, to learn and to create."

Still working on the buildouts around doors and windows-fun stuff!

This is my bamboo scene-wanted something with plant life but not cactus and coyotes. Digital cameras are so useful because I can study this and see what, if anything, needs to be added. There are also 2 dragonflies that are very hard to see at this angle.

The dragonfly.

The forming for the garage floor is completed and the pour will be tomorrow. We can get that finished quickly. (i know we can, i know we can, i know we can)

And the Gumbati Cons. guys came over to discuss the kitchen, which meant I had to get a final drawing for what we want where. It's such a small space it's imperative that we use it efficiently and I think I have a pretty good desgn.

So things are happening!

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Ohio State over Michigan 42 to 39 - 11/18/2006

Just One More
The Victory Bell rang at the 'shoe!

There were a few tense moments with a couple of heart-stopping turnovers but the Bucks persevered! Buckeyes 42-The other team 39.
Hang On Sloopy at OSU vs Bowling Green game

Hang On, Sloopy-the Bucks are comin' to Arizona!

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Script Ohio

Across the Field

Fight the team across the field,
Show them Ohio's here
Set the earth reverberating with a mighty cheer
Rah! Rah! Rah!
Hit them hard and see how they fall;
Never let that team get the ball,
Hail! Hail! The gang's all here,
So let's win that old conference now


Work will knock off early today in honor of a special Ohio holiday-the undefeated Ohio State Buckeyes will play that team from up north, in Columbus....mayhem will ensue.

Go Bucks!! And just to get you in the mood, enjoy TBDBITL

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Great Week for Plaster

Only the finish coat to go!

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Moving Right Along...

Ever have a great day? Ever have 2 great days in a row? Not just a good day when nothing catastrophic happens and you slog through your job and come home and have meatloaf (your favorite) for dinner and then it's NCIS (your other favorite) night on TV and you get to bed before 11. I'm talking about the kind of day that makes you glad you have been given space on this earth for a period of time. The sky is blue, the birds sing, rabbits romp, butterflies float, the plaster practically jumps on the wall (and sticks), and the strawbales begin to disappear under that coat of beautiful mud. If you've had a day like that, you have an appreciation for my last 2 days.

I used to get nervous when things would seem too "good". Did you know that's a carryover from "evil eye" myths and superstitions? Envious people would cast the "evil eye" on someone for whom things were good and then bad things would begin to happen. And it wasn't an intentional thing-those looking weren't witches or evil, just envious. Good to know it's a myth-now I can enjoy good things when they happen.

The plaster is about 50% complete. And that's just 2 days of work. We still need to build up the base coat a bit because I want smooth walls, not lumpy-bumpy this time. Then it will be time for the finish coat. I'm also thinking on the detail work I want to do around the windows to provide a frame. I think windows look better with some type of frame. Nothing fancy because the house is small and the windows already have some detail. At the moment I'm seeing a curve at the top with straight sides and perhaps a slight curve at the bottom. The curves will tie in with the other curves and help soften all the strightlines and angles of this very linear house.

This is Jose from Rite-Way Ventilating. There are some jobs that may seem like not much but are back breakers. Lots of bending, stooping, up and down the ladder, small space work. He worked really hard getting that duct work up.
Above is the west wall after the slip was applied. Below, same wall with first plaster coat.

North wall, almost finished with first coat. How about an arch over the glass block window?
I'm working on this corner to get it plumb (or at least close). It's a good one to play with because it's on the northeast corner and not many people will see it.
Still not liking the color-too pale, too beige. Haven't found any darker clay. May have to cruise the washes and roadbuilding sites looking for a darker material. Have shovel and bucket, will travel.

Sun's up, gotta get to work!

I asked her what she planned to do with her life & she said she was way beyond that point already. I'm just happy I remember to be there when it happens, she said. storypeople