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Living Freedom by Claire Wolfe. Musings about personal freedom and finding it within ourselves.

Want to Comment on a blog post? Look for and click on the blue No Comments or # Comments at the end of each post.

Archive for the ‘Home improvement’ Category

Claire Wolfe

Sunday check-in

Sunday, August 17th, 2014

Too hot to accomplish anything right now. Gads, it’s so nice to be able to say “too hot” when talking about the coastal NorthWET.


One thing I did accomplish this weekend: I got my entries ready for the county fair. Tomorrow is submission day for all the artsy-craftsy stuff.

Feels kinda silly to be doing this. I wouldn’t have entered anything in a fair when I was 10. Or 14. So why am I doing it now that I’m (mumble mumble)?

« Read the rest of this entry »

Claire Wolfe

If you get a notice that I’ve sent you an ecard …

Saturday, August 16th, 2014

It’s not spam. Jacquie Lawson cards will be going out today to roof-raiser donors. If you open yours, I can promise you won’t pick up any virii or have your mailbox hacked.

You might get an OD of cuteness, though.


ADDED: Whew! All cards have now been sent. If you donated and didn’t receive a card, please let me know. It could be because I don’t have a good email address for you or it could be I’m an idiot I got overwhelmed and missed you. Smack me upside the head and I’ll make up for it.

While composing cards, I also did some counting, even though the job severely taxed my supply of fingers and toes:

Sixty wonderful people have donated (with a couple more gifts perhaps still to come). Twenty donors sent $100 — or more! Eleven sent between $50 and $100. Everybody donated generously. You made my days and you made the roof-raiser a roaring success. This fundraiser exceeded its goal in an extravagant manner and in just a hair over two weeks.

As a little Hungarian lady I used to know would say (when she was very moved and surprised): “I’m ‘STOUND!”

Claire Wolfe

Whoof! Look what you just did!

Thursday, August 14th, 2014


From the get-go, this roof-raiser was going about as brilliantly as it possibly could.

But today? First came that totally surprising $330 from A. Then I collected the snail. OMG.

D. — a honey of a guy — sent a package containing a Kershaw pocket knife, a letter with one of the most roller-coastery personal stories I’ve read in many a year, and two portraits of Ben Franklin. Whoa. I never knew old Ben was so handsome!

Nearly there, nearly there …

The next envelope shattered the glass at the top of the thermometer. I can only say, “Thank you, Anonymous,” and even that may be crossing a line because this donation came with a strict, “NO CREDIT” order.

But how do you not give credit?

What now? Well, now I call the roofing crews and get myself a spot on their schedules. There will be no drowned cats, drenched doggies, or soggy writers this winter.

The total cost of my roof-to-be is $8,300. I was hoping to raise half of that with this fundraiser. You have contributed over 60 percent! Which leaves me with a much lighter, much more doable, burden. I was a little worried there for a while.

How do you say thank you? When I started, I had no idea what would happen. Maybe you’d send a cumulative few hundred and I’d get a few comments telling me (in effect), “Why should anybody send you money when children are starving in Africa?”

I feel so awkward asking for money!

I knew some old friends and Usual Suspects would kick in. But I didn’t know whether I’d end up … embarrassed or what. I’d have been grateful for any contributions. I’m speechlessly grateful for what you all have done. And while the Usual Suspects jumped in generously, so did so many people I’ve never heard from before.

My “official” thank yous will go out shortly. (I’ve been acknowledging all donations in comments as they’ve come in, and hope I haven’t been rude making some of you wait weeks for a better thank you.)

This roof-raiser has met its goals — emphatically and amazingly. I’ll still leave the “donate” button up a while longer for anybody who’d still like to “have their names on some memorial shingles” (LOL early contributors T & T for that).

But … wow. Just wow. And did I mention … wow?

Claire Wolfe


Tuesday, August 5th, 2014

I just came home from morning errands to find my street blocked by serious PUD equipment. Seems they’re doing major electrical work that they neglected to tell anybody about.

I have now apparently been “officially” notified that my power will be out most of the day today. Thank heaven I have no deadlines. But I had hoped to catch up on email. I’m seriously overdue with a few people. Sorry, guys; you’ve waited this long and now you’ll have to wait a few hours longer. (And no, I haven’t gotten that generator yet and it’s still going to be a while.)

I’ll take this opportunity to shingle a wall. See ya’ll later.

And thanks for the BIG boost to the roof-raiser today. Much appreciated!

Claire Wolfe

Bleg: Keep the roof over Claire’s head

Wednesday, July 30th, 2014

Okay, good people. It’s been a long time since I’ve asked for anything. Last year I skipped fundraising because it always seemed someone else had a greater need. You responded generously and helped some good people.

Now I need a new roof over my head. It’s going to cost $8,300. I hope to raise half of that via this bleg. So here’s the goal: $4,150. Here’s the hope: that if you enjoy this blog and get something good out of it, you’ll donate.

I’m also hoping that donations won’t just come from the Usual — wonderful — Suspects who have shown so much love over the years. If you’ve been reading this blog and have never contributed … well, help keep me and my furkids dry this winter!

Obligatory note: I am paid to write this blog and I do earn money from my Amazon Associates links. But I blog much more than BHM requires. So the wonderful people of BHM also allow me to use this forum to raise other funds as needed. I try to do it sparingly. So send me some spare change and I’ll quit blegging!

Claire Wolfe

Catching up, scrambling about, Mondaying, and oh yes, let me do a little ranting while I’m here

Monday, July 28th, 2014

Oy veh.

Such a Monday. The sun is shining so I really can’t complain. And thank heaven the sun is shining, because a 10 x 14′ section of my roof has been open to the weather (and the birds and the raccoons) for days and for a while there it looked as if it was going to stay that way!

« Read the rest of this entry »

Claire Wolfe

Anybody have any idea …?

Tuesday, July 15th, 2014

… what these are? Or more pertinently, how they were originally used?

They’re tin and appear to be of a kind and vintage with old stamped metal ceilings. I picked up a baggie full of them at a thrift store yesterday for $1.50 and despite what I said about using only items already on hand, I think they’ll have a place in my funky table project. I see gold spray paint in their future.

But I’m curious about their history and purpose.



Claire Wolfe

Catching up (and some ranting)

Sunday, July 6th, 2014

It has been so freakin’ BUSY! I’m sorry for the “lite” posting, but when I do have some time, summer tempts me to spend it elsewhere than the computer.

While articles are being written, doors are also being painted, junk heaps reduced, and projects planned.


I even (I blush to admit) spent time last week prepping artwork to submit to the county fair.

« Read the rest of this entry »

Claire Wolfe

A new look at Earthineer

Saturday, June 21st, 2014

If you haven’t visited Earthineer in a while, you might want to take a new look.

Dan Adams has recently added the long-awaited marketplace and barter sections where members can trade with each other. Though they’re still new and smallish, he’s got something quite promising there both for “rural engineers” and for foodies. Earthineer is a labor of love for Dan and it shows in the quality of the presentation.

Among other things, he’s planning to build privacy into the trades, so only the parties involved will have long-term records of their transactions.

Also, Dave Duffy has assigned me an article on Earthineer and I’d love to hear some opinions and questions other than my own.

Claire Wolfe

Hoarding building materials?

Tuesday, June 17th, 2014

Carl-Bear observes what he thinks may be a new trend: stockpiling building materials. He’s not sure whether this is a real thing (your opinions requested). But if it is, he’s pretty sure it’s an ominous one.

I was just about to write one of my long, rambly posts about having too much freaking stuff! Among other things, I’m tripping over the boxes of flooring sitting next to the kitchen table. And there’s an old door rescued from a Craftsman house lying smack across the center of the storeroom. The shed in my yard does contain several rolls of tarpaper. Not hoarding, though. I have Actual Uses for these things as soon as I can pull together the time and money. I expect others hereabouts could say the same

But if others are stocking up on 2x4s, insulation, and nails with no near-future plans for such, what do you think’s going on?

Claire Wolfe

Floor Score!

Thursday, June 12th, 2014

I scored surplus hardwood plank flooring from an out-of-work contractor.


This is real, 3/4-inch tongue-and-groove hardwood flooring. Not laminate. Not “engineered” hardwood, but the real deal. Ain’t it pretty?

I’ve just laid pieces down on the floor to get an idea of what I might do, so don’t get all bothered yet about things like “wrong” lengths or placement.

I’ve got 2.5 boxes of 2-1/4″ width oak, two boxes of 3-1/4″ width oak and just under two boxes of 4″ Lyptus (a hybrid eucalyptus, plantation-grown in Brazil; sustainable and all that). So I have to get a little creative about how I put it all together. I’ve been messing around with possible layouts.


The two widths of oak work perfectly together. They’re the same brand. I just have to make sure my design doesn’t run me out of one plank width before the other. The Lyptus is more problematic. It’s a different brand and while the oak tongues fit fine into the Lyptus grooves, the Lyptus tongues don’t quiiiiiiiite fit into the oak’s groves. So most likely I’ll end up with a simple Lyptus border and an oak middle to minimize tongue trimming and cussing over fit problems.

This is for an entryway, only 85 square feet. I have about 120 square feet o’ stuff, so should have plenty of flexibility in working out the puzzle.

I had to “cheat” a bit and buy one box of the oak at full retail at a floor store to have enough of both widths. Even so, we’re talking less than $1.70 a square foot overall. Normal is $6-$10 a foot for these materials. Of course the installed cost, figuring wastage, nails, etc. will be closer to $2.50 per square foot, but I won’t complain about that!

Now I have to figure out how to do blind nailing. (And yes, I know there are special gadgets for that, but this is such a small space I doubt it would be worth making two trips to the Big City to rent and return one.)

Anyhow, cool, eh?

Claire Wolfe

I’m not really mechanically inclined …

Wednesday, June 11th, 2014

… but sometimes being stubborn and a tad OCD makes up for that.

My “genuine” Amish electric fireplace (and I’m hardly the first to notice how ridiculous that claim is) heats just fine and looks pretty with its red glow and nice oak cabinet. But something is missing; “genuine” faux flame effects.


« Read the rest of this entry »



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