Friday, 29 June 2012

One shelf is up!

Hihhey! The shelf for the painted side of the room is now dry and assembled! Yay! It's white! So pretty.

I must say the assembly was not pretty. I placed the top, bottom and middle shelf on the vertical support pieces, which was freakingly difficult because I didn't have anyone to help me. A is in Shanghai for two weeks and I did not want to wait putting the shelf up.

I had the shelf lying on the floor and then tried to measure that the shelf would be straight before I screwed the cross support on the back. I lost my nerve when I made the measurements, the measuring tape just did not stay on place and my arm didn't reach anywhere and I got really mad. Also I made the mistake of starting to put the shelf together while I was hungry. I guess my blod sugar was too low because I started coursing to the shelf. Now I've eaten and the shelf is also up and not crooked so I feel lot better.

That table top that sticks out from the shelf will be A's work surface. A tends to pile stuff on horizontal surfaces so I thought to prevent that he should not have as much space for it as before. And we will get separate work areas, so his stuff wont slide onto mine.

The shelf under the work surface is for collecting the cord mess, I plan to tuck all the excess cords there and maybe also the external hard drives. I hope the shelf does not hit his knees. The bottom shelf on the right most likely needs to be moved away since I think it will be on the way of A's feet and also the computer tower needs to be placed somewhere.

But it's up, Wohoo! Next I need to move some stuff on the shelf to make room for the other side of the room so I can paint that side and the shelf there.

Wednesday, 27 June 2012

Bonsai news

Alana asked how the pine bonsai I planted last summer is doing. Well I must say I think it looked better last year, but it's not as sad looking as it was right after last winter.

When I dug it up from it's winter rest, I noticed something had snipped pieces from it. I don't know what had happened but I found the top of the pine cut off from it and the top was lying on the ground close to the bonsai. It was sad, nothing had eaten it, it was just cut off. Also few other branches had cut, but I could not see the pieces anywhere. So on spring the bonsai looked pretty pathetic.

When the weather got warmer the bonsai started to make new shoots and it has actually made quite many. Now the bonsai is doing OK, it's just not as leafy as it used to be. It could be better, but it will look excellent in few years, I'm sure of it. Bonsai growing requires patience and I hope I can learn that.

I did rewire the bonsai on early summer, but I did not change the soil. Sometimes birds or some other animals have dug some soil from the bonsai pot and I've had to replant the moss on top a few times, but the tree it self has not really minded about the digging.

Monday, 25 June 2012

Bonsai inspiration

We came yesterday from the cabin in the archipelago. On friday the weather was really nice and we had a walk around the island. The rocky islands are beautiful, they are so harsh but so green at the same time. I was able to find lots of bonsai inspiration.

The weather on saturday was rainy but I started to knit gloves for A and I did finish one book. Not bad minivacation at all.

Friday, 22 June 2012

Happy Midsummer!

I'm off to the Finnish archipelago to celebrate midsummer. We will do some boating, eat well, sleep in, drink beer and have a sauna.

I thought it might be exotic to some of you to see the nighless night of the north, so I prepared some pictures for you. I do live south from the arctic circle so the sun does set, but on the night time we can see the dawn from the north and it is not pitch black even in the middle of the night.

It was slightly difficult to get the true lightness with the camera, because of the different shutter times, but I tried to take as realistic pictures as I could. The pictures are not all taken on the same night, so I didn't wake up every hour to take these pictures. I took these in about a time frame of one week.

Hope you have a nice Midsummer!
(even if you don't celebrate it)

Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Shelf is drying

Thank you Alana for suggesting to use a roller when painting the shelf parts. The painting has been fast and smooth. But what hasn't been fast is the drying. The finishing paint feels dry after couple hours but the jar says that the paint is fully hardened after three days and before that nothing should press the paint. So I'm waiting and I've never been good at that.

As you know I still have the other shelf from the other wall to disassemble and paint, but I also bought more of that same shelf. Like I didn't have enough to paint before!

Monday, 18 June 2012

Tomatoes in the conservatory

I didn't tell you this when it happened but I killed ALL my tomato seedlings on May. Not on purpose of course. At that time I thought that the weather was very nice and it was sunny and quite warm, so I took the seedligs out on the terrace to replant them. Big mistake! All the plants died of cold. In a few hours after the replanting most of the plants droop sadly in their pots, on the next day even the rest started to droop. I wanted to be hopefull and waited for a few days for the miracle that they would perk up. But that didn't happen and I had to throw the plants away. So sad.

Instead of sowing new seeds I bought the plants. They were only couple euros per plant, makes me wonder if it's worthwile going through all the trouble of sowing the seeds, taking care of the seedlings and replanting them many times. On the other hand it's fun to watch things grow.

They were still in their small plastic pots. I had only bought four tomato plants, last year I had eight (if I remember correctly) and our conservatory was filled with tomatoes. That was a bit too much, so I thought four would be better.

I dug out four metal pots for the tomatoes, filled the bottom with LECA gravel and added soil and some fertilizer. Then planted the tomatoes.

These tomatoes should grow pretty tall and I had bit of problem how I would support the tomatoes when they grow larger. I figured I could hung ropes from the conservatory ceiling and tie the tomatoes on those ropes.

The ropes hang from a chain where I have hung lanterns on the winter time. I've had that chain there for quite some time.

I actually have no idea if that rope system was a wise thing to do or not, I guess I will see it in near future. So far it's working.

Friday, 15 June 2012

Painting and drying stand

Usually I paint either in the bathroom or outside, but the shelf painting takes up so much room that it does not fit in the bathroom. Also painting the shelf outdoors has not been an option since even though it has been mostly sunny we've got some rain showers almost daily. This meant that I had to create a painting and drying area in the office.

I also wanted to speed up the painting process so that I could be able to paint all the sides of the shelves on the same go. The furniture paint also dries up slowly so I needed a place where I can leave the shelf parts to dry without having to move them all the time.

So I created a painting and a drying stand. First I placed an A-ladder and a stool on some way from each other. Then I covered everything with plastic and also placed a sheet underneath to keep some weight on the plastic and to catch any drippings. Then I placed the vertical support piece from the shelf on the stool and the ladder where I can then slide the shelves to dry.

The painting stand I made using couple pieces of wood and four big nails. I attached the stand on the office table with bar clamps. I also covered the table with the plastic and a sheet.

Here you can see the stand in detail. Now I can flip the shelf on the nails and paint the other side and then place it to dry.

Wednesday, 13 June 2012

One of two walls is painted

Yippee!! The first one of the two walls I need to paint is now done. Actually I got it painted already on Friday but I struggled putting the skirting and the light switch cover back. Well it wasn't really a struggle I just didn't bother and I was busy sanding the shelves.

Here is the intermediate state, where I was removing the wall paper. 

After some taping and covering the floor and then two layers of paint.

And the other side of the room looks like this. Bit difficult to take pictures when there is just a long path way to stand in.

But now after three(!) layers it's painted and ready and looking very nice and fresh. Love it! Next the other wall...

Monday, 11 June 2012

Sanding the shelf

Before we left for a wedding on Saturday I did manage to sand most of the shelf pieces. I'm a bit annoyed that I did not have time to sand all, there were just a few pieces left. But I had to start putting on makeup and dress up.

I will sand the rest on Monday. On Sunday I also helped my sister move. The move went very fast, she didn't have much stuff and she had moved some of her stuff already. I would have had time to sand the rest of the shelf parts on Sunday but I have a prinsiple of not using any powertools outside on Sundays. I don't want to bother my neighbors with the noise. I at least appreciate that there is one day in a week when everything is quiet and relaxed.

Friday, 8 June 2012

How to remove rust

Patience please. No finished paint work in the office yet. I hope I get a chance to finish it on the weekend, but on saturday we will go to a wedding and on sunday my sister moves and I will need to help her, but still I hope I have some time for my painting project.

I had a lamp and a door handle, they were cool but they were covered in rust. One ex co-worker happened to tell me about how she cleaned rust off with citric acid from some components (Yes, you know if I'm talking of you :D ). Too bad I didn't know about this trick last summer.

In Finland citric acid can be bought at least from the pharmacy in chrystal form. The chrystals look very similar to sugar. According to the information I found online the citric acid should be mixed with water in a ratio of 40 grams citric acid per one liter of water or around, it's not very precise. Use this unit converter if you don't like metric units.

Only problem cleaning with citric acid solution is that the whole component should be dipped in it. I read from somewhere that you could make a paste from water, citric acid chrystals and wallpaper paste and then smear that on the rusty areas. I cannot say if that would work or not, since I haven't tried it.

But dipping the whole part in a citric acid solution really does the trick. I left the door handle and the plate thing in the solution for over a night but the lamp cover it self was still looking a bit rusty so I left it in the solution for another ten hours or so. The solution didn't seem to do any harm on the areas where the metal was not rusty. Heat is supposed to accelerate the reaction, but I felt it was just easier to let the parts sit in room temperature water for as long as they needed.

Don't expect your steel parts to look brand new and shiny after the bath. Since the citric acid removes only the rust it leaves the surface very rough. The metal must be polished afterwards if that is the look needed.

Wednesday, 6 June 2012


Since no painting is obviously finished yet, you will get an interlude, with flowers. It is the perfect time here in Finland to collect wild flowers.

We have a nature reserve near by us. It's actually a pretty cool place. There are bird watching towers and the area is organically kept in good shape. There are even cows that keep the grass in control. I went there with my bike. The lupins are just starting to flower and I even found lilac bushes.

I had to place the lilacs on my night stand. The smell is divine.

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