Painting Woes (And Another Leak)

I like to paint.  It’s easy and fun and colors, whee!  Funnily enough, the walls mostly will be covered by closets and cabinets and stuff, but I like knowing there’s something pretty behind all that.

After trying the pink painted high up on the walls, with a pale yellow on the ceiling and upper walls, I discovered I vastly preferred the white over my head. Here’s the before:



White reflects light better and looks clean and fresh.  Luckily I still had the Zinsser Oil-based primer to cover the other colors.  It took one coat, plus two coats of Glidden Extreme White Semi-Gloss Exterior Paint to cover everything perfectly.  Yes, I used exterior paint inside.  I also used it on the cedar trim on the exterior, after priming with the Zinnser (which is perfect for cedar), and had a ton left over.  Since I’m not living in the space, and since the oil-based primer is also stinky, I figured, why not?  There’s time for it to off-gas before I move in, and the color is just what I wanted.  I can’t afford to waste paint, or really anything.  This is one of the reasons why the structure is a little odd-ball. 🙂

After I tamed the yellow and pink, I started trying for the look I wanted ~ a blend of pink, yellow and tangerines. I have a favorite skirt that I love that is pink and orange, green and reddish, and I want to try those colors in the interior.  I have a little pot of grass green for…somewhere.  Here’s what I have now:


The colors!


A cool blend on the side walls

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The wall under the loft. I like this area the best

I like it.  Luckily, the area I like the best, the wall under the loft (behind the cab of the truck) will show the most.  It’s pretty and not overwhelming.  Other than some touch ups, and maybe adding a little red at some point, and of course the moldings, the walls are finished.

Oh yes, the leak.  It’s not the roof, although yes, there was a small leak which is now gone due to the new roofing.  It might have been present the whole time but hidden by the bigger roof leak.  This new leak is actually through the door/skylight itself…it appears that the panes of glass and the wood joints have loosened with all the cutting and hoisting and general messing around (plus the door wasn’t built to be installed flat, of course).  But I have a solution!  Today I will go out and buy some more razor blades to clean the glass panes, sand off the extra silicone everywhere, and prime and paint the wood portions.  Once it’s dry, I will screw on to the face of the door, this stuff:

Polycarbonate Sheet

Polycarbonate Sheet from Lexan

A glass shop right down the street can provide a thicker product than is available at the big box stores, and will cut it to size, and cost less than buying it and using an expensive saw blade (which I don’t have) to cut it.  Plus, they will do it right, lol.  Yes, I am farming out some of the work.  And glad to do it.  And yes, it’s another expense, but a necessary one.  I’d always known I might have to go this route, so it’s not a surprise, and I’ve had time to figure out exactly what is needed.

I don’t know if I’ve already shown how the exterior looks now, all painted up and finished, so before I get to work on the skylight, here’s a few more pictures:

So you are all up-to-date.  I’m off to buy those razor blades and a saw blade for finish work.  Be well!


I found the saw.  However.  It won’t cut through the thick wood of the second french door, so I can’t access that broken pane to replace it.  It *does* work on the plywood panels, but my extension cord can’t reach to the truck so I can’t use the electric screwdriver/drill to attach them.  Therefore, I’m out of business until the new batteries come in.  And rain is coming….dammit.

I hope today is going better for you than me!

Taking Advantage Of The Late Summer Weather

Well.  It’s always something, right?  I’m now down to a single battery for my 18 volt Makita tools, which ISN’T ENOUGH JUICE!  Plus, the last battery seems to be on it’s last legs.  So, onto Amazon to purchase a couple more.  Three was perfect, but I bought a two-pack which should get me through to the end of this build.  In the meantime…

I’m pulling out all of the wool insulation from where it’s been stored for the last (too many) years, and spreading it out on tarps to get any last soggy bits dried out.  There’s so much of it!  As the mounds dry I’ll pack it into large garbage bags to store inside, now that I have an inside to store stuff in. 🙂

I’m working on the reclaimed windows, sanding them down, making repairs to ensure the glass is in there securely, and stripping the multiple layers of paint off in preparation of painting them.  It’s a task that’s needed to be done, and I’d rather do it outside anyway.  The stripper I have is supposedly OK to use indoors, but fresh air is always better, in my opinion.

And, until the last battery gives out, I’m slowly (oh, so slowly) cutting down the french doors into windows.  Yep!  If I’m able to keep my original Tiny House on the trailer, I’ll just buy another set.  For now, I have a plan for this set, which I’m not going to share yet, in case it’s a disaster.  I can only take so much public humiliation, you know?  Either the wood is really solid and heavy, or the single surviving battery really is dying, as it’s taking forever to cut, and the battery is only lasting a few minutes of laborious work, plus is getting really hot.  I might have an electric circular saw around here somewhere…I’ll have to look tomorrow.  I have an electric drill for sure.  Gosh I hope the battery lasts for a few more days, until the new ones come.

So that’s it.  Enjoying the weather, and making the best use of it that I can.  I’m staying out of bed, feeling pretty OK with life right now, and other than a very sore hand, getting over the scooter crash in good time.  Life is not too bad!

UPDATE:  This morning, I was gathering my tools together, and my last battery has died.  Sure hope I can find that circular saw I thought I saw somewhere….

A few pictures:

Here's the first french door to be cut down.

Here’s the first french door to be cut down.  Being old doors, the wood is loose already, so I’ll need to tighten things up.  The other door has a broken pane and I’ll deal with that after cutting it down, as it will be much easier to get the glass out then.

And here it is after being cut down and glued with Liquid Nails. You can see the two clamps pulling it tight together while the glue dries. Then I'll strip the paint off and reseal the glazing to make sure it stays put. I like the proportions!

And here it is after being cut down and glued with Liquid Nails. You can see the two clamps pulling it tight together while the glue dries. Then I’ll strip the paint off and reseal the glazing to make sure it stays put. I like the proportions!

Building Hurts After A Kick In The Ribs!

Ouch.  Ouch….ouch ouch ouch.

I’ve worked with horses most of my life, so know my way safely around them, at least you’d think!  But even though I KNEW Gaia has a potential of kicking (she’s not the most gentle soul), and I thought I was being careful, she smacked me a good one yesterday ~ she, I found out, is flexible, and has terrific aim.   I’m pretty sure I yelped comically as I flew (!) backwards into the mud.  I’m so very, very glad I had the heavy loft beams already up before this happened!

I’m fine, just bruised, no ribs broken.

I’ve been working hard on Oliver’s Nest, as the weather has been outright beautiful and staying busy keeps me positive instead of sad.  As of tonight, all of the framing in the lower portion is complete, including the framing of both doors (finally!), and as I already mentioned, the loft support beams.  Woot!  Also, as I was able to use some 4x6s from the old barn for the loft support as I had hoped, I could place them much further apart than if I’d used 2x4s.  I want an open look to the area under the loft, and having fewer beams will help with that.  I’m short at 5’5″, and decided to place the 4x6s at a height of 6 feet, which makes the ceiling between them 6’4″ ~ plenty of head room for me, even in heels!  The reward is a lot more head room in the loft.  I have learned from living in the truck camper that being able to sit up in bed is REALLY important to me.  The ceiling height in the loft will be an amazing 4’4″!  I’m thrilled!

Next up is buying nice looking 2x6s in 14 foot lengths for the loft floor.  I don’t want to build the pony walls while clinging to framing – I want a good solid floor to stand on while up that high.  It’s not that I’m afraid of heights, or even of falling – it’s just a lot harder to work with power tools safely when doing a monkey impersonation.

There’s one particular lumber yard in town which caters to higher-end contractors.  Super nice guys.  They have the highest grade of wood available (#1) in the widest variety of width and lengths, and are more than happy to dig through that nice stuff and find the best boards for me.  I plan to use them for all visible wood in my little home, and for my roof trusses, too.  The snow load is so heavy where my property is, I don’t want to mess around with iffy wood for the roof support.  I’ve shopped at nearly every lumber yard in the greater Olympia area, including the big box stores, and for most applications, any place has acceptable wood.  But it’s worth it to spend a little more for great quality wood when you have to look at it every day, and for anything that need to be really strong.

It’s kind of funny I suppose, that I’m using such a wide spectrum of materials….reusing old wood, re-purposing all sorts of things including the trailer bed from an old travel trailer, and then going first class on some things.   Wool insulation, expensive roofing materials like thick EPDM over the best quality lumber, big new windows….I like how it’s coming together though.  If I save money where reasonable (and safe), I can spend more on what matters the most to me.  It is such a personal creation, this tiny home of mine.  I’m proud of it, and I’m proud of myself.

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The loft beams! I’m a messy builder, aren’t I? My big red beast of a truck is back there, and a glimpse of the lovely tarp.


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Look at that blue sky through the trees!


One more thing ~ I am loving my new Makita impact drill!  It has made the construction process go a lot faster and easier!  I highly recommend the 18 volt cordless Makita line.  Now that 24 volt tools are showing up, the 18 volt tool prices are dropping and it’s easier to find them for a steal.  I’ve got the circular saw, the impact drill, the sawzall, and the battery charger with three batteries.  They charge really fast, and having three has kept me from ever having to stop building and wait.  I realize I’m sounding like an advertisement for Makita….it’s the only brand I have hands-on experience with.  I’m sure most of the 18 volt brands available are just as good.  Hurray for cordless tools!  Just be sure to buy an extra battery or two ~ it’s well worth the expense.

Be well, everyone! 🙂

Sunny Days Are Here (again)!

It’s been gorgeous out the last few days, sunny with blue skies, temps in the 50’s….perfect weather for moving forward on Oliver’s Nest.   Been removing those problem trusses – finally.  It’s such a relief.  All but the last two are off, and I plan to tackle them today, along with starting to put up sheathing on the sides.  Woohoo!

I wish I’d remembered to take some pictures of “before” and “after” the truss removal, but I’ve only got the distance shots of them up, nothing showing the (probably) overdone way I’d attached them.  Nails, screws, plus hurricane straps on both sides…it’s a lot of metal to get through.  My trusty cordless Makita Sawzall comes through again – it’s a heavy beast of a tool, but with the right blade it’ll cut through just about anything!  So, not only have I made progress on the house, but I’ve been getting an upper body workout, too, heh.

If you’ve read the “About Me” blurb, you know I struggle with BPD, coupled with chronic depression.  Because of that, I tend to be alone most of the time, and I’m happier for it.  However!  Sometimes life is easier, better, with help from other people.  Building a house, even a Tiny one, is one of those times.  Even just to get design feedback, if not actual sweaty, hands-on labor-type help.  I believe I would not have let over a year pass since last working on Oliver’s Nest if I’d allowed people to come over and help with it.  Because it turns out that even the most intimidating problems aren’t necessarily all that big of a deal.  I’ve been dreading, yes, DREADING dealing with those trusses.  Turns out all I needed was to cut ’em off!  So easy, anyone could see that – if they weren’t feeling drowned as I was.   There’s a lesson here, folks.  Even the most die-hard loners and chronic “I’ll do it myself!”-ers would likely benefit from allowing suggestions, feedback, critiques.  Let people in.  Get together and toss ideas around.  With help, even when you think you’ve painted yourself into a corner, you’ll find a way out. (A little house-building pun there, didja see it?) 😀

Hey, and a big thank you to Lone Stranger for your suggestion of drilling pilot holes to rein in those wayward screws.  It really helped!  All finished with those as of yesterday.  I can’t believe the walls are finally going to get some sheathing on…it’s a big step, visually.  So, let’s see: sheathing, then the loft, then the pony walls, then the new roof beams.  With weather in my favor, I’m hoping to get all that finished up by the end of March.  Yeah, I know, the rain will come back soon.  But a girl can dream, can’t she?

Why am I having this trouble?

Drawn up a new set of plans.  They are much closer to my original plans for the interior, and will work a bit better than the ones I recently posted.  I’ll put them up here soon, but have other work that is more pressing.

I have started physically working on Oliver’s Nest again this past week, the first time in a year (embarrassing but true). The first day went great! I’m currently affixing hurricane straps and other metal “hold down” bits to the framing. My new cordless Makita drill helped me power through perhaps half of the job, and I’m in love with it! Small, so it fits in my hands easily, and lightweight, yet packs a nice punch to those wayward screws.

However. The second and third day of work, the screws revolted and won the battle against being placed securely. They would only go in partway, then spin like I was going through knots, even on clear lumber.  What the heck?

It’s been raining off and on.  I’m wondering if rain-soaked wood is harder to drill into?

Argh.  I’m off to do battle again.  I WILL live in this home by the end of 2014. 

I’m Baaaaack (Kinda)!

Well, not really, not yet.  But soon!

So, I tried to learn how to use Sketchup and failed. Dang, it would be nice to use, and being as I’m a reasonably intelligent person, I thought I’d pick it up quickly.  But nope!  It’s back to good ol’ fashion grid paper for me.  I like the pencil and paper thing anyway, but it just doesn’t photograph well enough to post here.  I’d love feedback on my design so maybe I’ll keep playing around with Sketchup, or some other 3D program.  Or get a better camera (someday) so the graph paper drawings show up more clearly.

So what HAVE I been doing? 

  • Sold my beloved 1987 Toyota 4Runner to fund more tool buying and building supplies, and to pay off a few little debts.  It hurt to let it go, but honestly, I don’t need it.  I’ve got my sexy green scooter and my He-Man huge old diesel truck.  Mostly during these wet winter days I drive my mother’s little “SUV” Chevy Tracker, hauling hay, grain and my mother around.  She LOVES all the alfalfa leaves in her car, I assure you!
  • Immersed myself in playing The Secret World mmo on my new laptop – A big Thank You to my loved ones who splurged on a new laptop for my B-day/Christmas present!  Whohoo!  This sucker will be coming with me when I move to my property.  Love it!  Gotta have fun, and I’m a gamer for sure (yes, I’m a geek).  Love, love, love it!
  • Moved Gaia (my young mare) to a new paddock to hang out with Hank the cowdog, and started working with her in hand, preparing for next summer when we’ll work on her driving skills.  I won’t be putting her under saddle until the summer of 2015 to give her bones more time to grow and strengthen.   She’s getting tall, Yay!  Definitely looks more like a Quarter Horse than a Belgium.   She’s turning into a lovely girl. 🙂
  • Umm, been studying basic carpentry skills for the upcoming interior work.  I want to build my own cabinets and other built-ins, which takes different skills than house building.  It’s funny how I’m more worried about not being able to build a nice counter than I am about building a sound and stable house!  Wait, that didn’t come out right – I mean, I am confident in my ability to build a safe and strong house, but worried about making it look nice inside.  Thank goodness for all the DIY bloggers out there (especially the female ones) who take the time to write tutorials and draw great how-to sketches!  Thank you muchly!

What else?  Well, I’m super excited about my latest tool, a Makita LXDT04Z 18-Volt LXT Lithium-Ion Cordless Impact Driver.  I’ve really enjoyed using the cordless Makita tools, and I feel that they are a good investment.  My old, corded drill jams up and is really hard to tighten enough (and then refuses to loosen), which is really frustrating!  Now I’m just waiting for some reasonably dry and not freezing days to try this new bad boy out.  It’s a whole lotta hurricane clips and straps and whatnots, and then on to the sheathing!  I’m going to leave the reworking of the roof trusses for later.  Ugh. 

So, no pictures or progress to show at this time, but my motivation is revving up!  I want Olivers Nest to be liveable by the end of 2014.  Wish me luck, folks!  Happy New Year to everybody!

Walls are started and the cabin starts looking like a….home.


18V Makita circular saw


3 nails into each 2×6 at bottom and top

Walls!  This was a very exciting step to take, as it showed the outline of the cabin still to come.  The first picture shows my trusty 18V cordless Makita circular saw that I used to cut the 2 bys to proper lengths.  I have 3 batteries for it so there was never a slow down in cutting – no waiting for batteries to charge.

To make the walls, I nailed together sets of studs connected top and bottom into “boxes” of no more than 4 feet long.  I needed to do this in order to lift them up by myself.  The studs are set at 24″ on center as described in Value Engineering/Advanced Home Building Techniques/Advanced Framing.  This type of building is very appropriate for Tiny Homes as it reduces waste, weight, cost, and difficulty.

That being said, I still ended up with doubled 2x6s every 3 or 4 feet due to the stud “boxes” being set next to each other.  If I hadn’t had to build this way I could have been much more efficient, but….single and short woman here!


A section of wall built before lifting into place.

Hopefully, this picture shows the stud “box” I am talking about – a section of wall about 3 feet long.


This is a whole wall of studs all ready to lift

Here are the studs ready to lift up along the non-window side of the cabin.  I started on this side because it seemed the easiest to frame.  I forgot to mention earlier that I painstakingly worked out a framing diagram so I had all the measurements already figured out.  I’m glad I took the time to do this, as I was able to determine where any extra weight would be placed on the wall and build in extra crossbeams to nail things like counter tops too.  Ok, that sentence is awkward, but hopefully clear enough!


Kitchen window brought home on my wonderful scooter

I thought a picture of the final window I purchased would be nice to show, as I brought it home by scooter.  I brought a lot of my supplies and equipment home this way.  I do have a truck,, but prefer driving the scooter, and enjoy the funny looks on the way home.