Saturday, October 15, 2016

Build journal – Roof tales

GAK! I’m sooooo bad about keeping our build progress up to date. I’ll use the “we’re hard at work” excuse to cover my butt :-) Which really is the truth, we’re working REALLY hard trying to get the house weather-tight before the snow flies.

After the second storey walls and the roof girder and poles went up in September, it was time to install the roof trusses. So. Many. Roof. Trusses. Over sixty of them. And they all had to be attached to the girder, which is almost 30 feet above the floor in the middle of the house. There was no way I was going up there, and Brian wasn’t so keen on the idea either. But being the cheap – I mean stubborn – I mean adventurous guy that he is, Brian came up with a pulley system to get the trusses up and in place. And we got eight of those suckers up. Not actually attached to anything, just hooked over the girder! It took us two days. It wasn’t looking good.

rafters 3

At this point, Brian finally agreed to call builder Warren McAuley for help. And a few days later, help arrived! Warren came over with a trailer full of scaffolding and three other guys. In less than half an hour, they had five levels of scaffolding up and ready to go.


Then the two truss guys, Al and Wayne, went to work. Al has been doing this for 30 years, and he climbed up onto the girder like it was nothing.

standing on girder 2

We had a pretty good system going. Al would send the rope down to Brian and me on the ground and we’d put the rope on the truss. Wayne was up on the second floor to help hoist the truss up to Al, who then nailed each truss into place. By the end of the day we had just a few minor injuries and over half the trusses in place :-)

trusses half done

Between the weekend and some wet weather, it was a few days before Al & Wayne were back to finish the job. But once they were back, they got the rest of the trusses up in no time!

al wayne

AOne and a half days to do what would have taken us a whole lot more days on our own!

trusses done

trusses done 3

trusses done 4

It’s a relief to have this part of the job done. Now all that’s left to do on the roof is sheath it, attach the Tyvek, install the skylights, and put on the metal roofing. *Sigh* Whose bright idea was it to build our own house?!

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Tuesday, October 4, 2016

The Living Beach – October 1, 2016

In every outthrust headland, in every curving beach, in every grain of sand
there is the story of the earth
Rachel Carson

I was expecting to see some big changes to the beach over the past month. The sand did start to go out during September, but then it came back in and built up again. So there still aren’t a lot of rocks exposed on the beach, and the three big puppies are still hidden under the sand.

oct 1 3

oct1 1

oct1 2

To give you a better perspective of how much of the beach is exposed at low tide…

oct 1 4

And a comparison between August, September, and October….

August SeptemberOctober collage

Some beach love…

oct 1 5

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Monday, September 26, 2016

Build journal – Second storey going up!

Now that the first floor of the house is framed and the subfloor on the second storey is done, it’s time to work on the second storey walls.

Brian had a genius idea – I mean, how could a guy that looks like this NOT have genius ideas? ;-)

kelly brian

Hahahahah! What a goof! But really, he DID come up with a great plan – to not only build the framing for the second storey walls, but also sheath them, wrap them, and attach the vent grid to them as well. So once the crane comes and lifts them and we get them in place, all that will be left to do on the exterior of the walls is shingling. Which will mean way less precarious work on a ladder 20+ feet above the hard ground.

We started with the east wall, which we (logically) built on the west end of the second storey. I did say he had a genius idea, not that he’s a rocket scientist ;-)


We build the west wall on the ground at the east end of the house. The west wall is two pieces because the wall comes to a point in the middle.



The crane came last Wednesday to lift the walls, posts, and girders. It was a pretty nerve-wracking day, but everything went pretty smoothly. A huge THANK YOU to the crane operator who went above and beyond to help us out.

east wall


west wall

west wall


west end

Now it’s really starting to look like a house!

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Sunday, September 18, 2016

Fall craft flashback – Painted pumpkins

The Taylors at Living Porpoisefully (love that name!) are featuring 15 DIY coastal fall ideas over at their blog, and they’ve included a project that I did a few years ago. You can check out my original post at JAX Does Design through their feature, and I thought I’d re-post the pictures here to share as well.

Chalk paint pumpkins

I painted small pumpkins with Annie Sloan Chalk Paint in Provence, Paris Grey, and French Linen. Then I wrapped the stems with jute twine and added some shells and shell pieces to give them a coastal vibe.

pumpkins 1

pumpkins 2

pumpkins 3


pumpkins 4


pumpkins 5

Not sure if I’ll have time to do any coastal fall DIY projects this year – unless building a house counts! More house progress coming soon… :-)

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Sunday, September 11, 2016

Our ties to 9/11

Our wedding day was September 14th, 2001 — three days after 9/11. We woke up on the morning of our wedding to news that the Prime Minister of Canada had proclaimed September 14, 2001 a National Day of Mourning. Our Master of Ceremonies was in Germany and unable to fly back to Canada for our wedding. My brother and his wife had planned to fly up from Pittsburgh, but had to drive up instead. We had two tickets to fly to Halifax the day after our wedding for our honeymoon in NS and PEI. But I was too scared to fly, especially because of the association between 9/11 and the airport in Halifax.

Flash forward 8 years — September 11, 2009. Hubby and I were flying to Halifax to celebrate our anniversary at the same time the two planes had hit the World Trade Center back in 2001. Things eerily coming full circle, in a way.

We originally planned to go to Peggy's Cove on Sunday on our way from Lunenburg back to Halifax, but we decided to go on our way to Lunenburg instead. About 1.5kms from Peggy's Cove, we saw a sign for the Swissair Flight 111 Memorial. Another eerie coincidence that on the 8th anniversary of 9/11, we were at the scene of another tragic plane crash.

Here are a few pictures I took at the memorial. The first explains the memorial, and the rest are pictures of the memorial and the Atlantic Ocean. It's too bad the sound of crashing waves can't come through the computer screen — they really add to the drama of the memorial site and  remind you of the power of the ocean...

swiss 1 plaque[3]


swiss memorial[3]

After much thought, hubby came to the realization that the three slots in the stone are the number of the flight — 111.

swiss stone 1[3]

swiss stone 2[3]

The clouds couldn’t have been more perfect…

swiss clouds[3]

I felt so goosebumpy from the seeing the memorial and the coincidences between September 11, 2001 and September 11, 2009. And today, seven years later, we still remember both of these tragedies and the impact they had on the world.

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Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Build journal – Moving on up

Wow – how can it already be September!? Summer has just flown by! But it’s not officially over till September 22nd, so I’m holding onto it till then!

We really want to have the house weather-tight by November so we can get the concrete floors poured (we’re going to have radiant heated floors on the main floor and in the second floor bathroom) and then work on the interior of the house over the winter. It looks like we still have a long way to go to get there, but Brian is the slow & steady & quiet & confident type, so I’m sure we’ll get there if he says we will :-)

We’ve made some pretty good progress over the past couple of weeks. My last post was about framing the main floor, and this time around we’re moving on up to the second floor. But before we could do that, we had to install a set of temporary stairs.

stairs 2 

stairs 1

Then we carried up lots of sheets of subflooring and started with installing it on the east end.

east end 2

east end

Hello there garage :-)

garage from house 2nd floor

From below…

east floor from below

And then down the walkway to the west end…


And the west end. One more piece!

one more piece

All done!

second floor done

Too bad we have to put a roof on the house, this is the perfect spot for a picnic!

chairs on second floor

Plus the views aren’t too shabby either…

bedroom view 1

bedroom view 2

view from second floor 2

view from second floor

Next up is building the framing for the two end walls and then getting a crane to come in and lift framing and some beams and rafters up to the second floor.

Yep, these two goofballs are really building a house!

funny faces

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