Sunday, July 03, 2005

Honey-Doings: Part X

What a week! There have been bumps in the road, set backs and a crisis. Through it all, my project is finally winding down. I had not planned for this job to take nearly a week, and I certainly didn't think it would go into a day six. However, I did allow for that possibility, by choosing to take a week rather that a weekend for the project.

As for these chronicles, this being the tenth, I thought I might post three, maybe four accounts of the work. After all, what could possibly be interesting or entertaining about a home improvement project? It is with that reckoning that I added images, animation and effects to my postings. If a reader found the articles boring, at he/she would have a few pieces of eye candy for the time they spent here.

The morning routines out of the way, I began in earnest what promised to be the final day of Honey-Doings. At 8:45 AM, tape measure in hand, I took down the measurements of the areas that would be covered by my wife's bargain basement wallpaper. I only needed a few key sets of numbers to get me started. The bathroom, small but efficient, had the lower half of the wall decorated in ceramic tile. It was the top half that concerned me, from the tiles to the ceiling. That distance 53 1/2 inches, would require ten strips of paper. I then measured from the top of the window, the top of the door, and above and below the medicine cabinet. Of course, I had to take two measurements in each area to allow for differences at point versus another. A house can settle, and as such one ceiling to floor measurement on one side of a room can differ slightly on the other side.

The wallpaper I was using, though it had a pattern, was not matched paper. That fact and my measurements, allowed me to pre-cut all of the longer pieces at once. This method would not have been wise had I been using matched paper. In that case, I could have taken the measurements, but every single piece would have had to be cut one at a time, and only after one had already been hung. The flowers or leaves, for example would have to be lined up with a like half on the other piece.

The last time I ever wallpapered, you bought the paste in powder form, which had to be mixed with water. Nowadays you can buy it in a bucket ready to use. Anything to make my work easier, that's the route I take. I pasted the first piece of paper, folded it paste to paste, and carried it to my step stool. Having the pasted paper folded prevented it from making contact with any objects in the room, or my body for that matter. I was always taught to square the top of the paper to that point where wall and ceiling meet. Any excess paper would be at the bottom, the easier access when it is time to trim it. (It is a good idea to have a damp cloth handy when you actually start hanging the paper.) After I had smoothed out the paper by hand, I began using the cloth, starting from the middle and rubbing outward to the edges. As they are very visible while the paper is wet, I was pushing out any air pockets, creases and excess paste.

Sheet after sheet, this process was repeated. The first obstacle I was faced with was the medicine cabinet. Whenever possible, it is preferable to hang as many pieces possible before encountering a situation where you have to make cuts into a piece to be hung. One way to handle this is to take precise measurements on the wall and transfer them to the back of the paper, and then cut them out before pasting. A word to the wise is apropos here, measure twice - cut once! If you are off by even an eighth of an inch, the results most likely will be undesirable.

Myself, I prefer to paste up the piece, hang it and make the cuts using an exacto knife. This requires a certain amount amount of maneuvering the wallpaper, butting part of it against the obstacle and then making the cuts until the paper fits next to and around the object. While wet with the paste, most wallpaper is pliable and easy to work with. In my case, I was using a sheet slightly larger than four feet, making such cuts easier than if I were using an eight foot strip of paper. There are times such as that, I would consider cutting separate pieces and hang those first, so that a vertical straight line is created for the application of the next piece. In any event, if the seams are straight, they are almost invisible when the job is done. I had several cuts to be made around the window, door, and medicine cabinet.

Eleven-thirty and all is well! The last piece of wallpaper was up. A half hour to clean up and to put the tools away, and another half hour to police the bathroom, I could actually start to feel like it was a job well done. Alas, I couldn't rest on my laurels at that moment. There still was the small matter of the border! The border had to wait until the wallpaper was completely dry and the paste underneath had set.

Remember those spur-of-the-moment decisions mentioned in Part VIII? Well, I threw the curve myself! "After I clean up," I said to my wife, "Why don't we take a ride down to the beach for some fish and chips? We can sit in one of the gazebos and smell the salt in the air." She was cleaned up before I had a chance to do the same! It isn't the best idea to go to the beach on a Saturday on a hot day during the lunch hours, but it beat the daylights out of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.

Throw in a pit stop at a convenience store, a look-see at a couple of yard sales, and a detour to the Dairy Queen for a root beer float, it was after three by the time we got back home. The wallpaper dry or not, you must have guessed already that those borders weren't going up until tomorrow, didn't you? Bingo! I think we all knew that there would be a Honey-Doings: Part XI. See you then.


1 comment:

schnoodlepooh said...

I'm glad you took some time off for spur of the moment fun. The border will be quick and you already started enjoying your weekend with a trip to the beach. I'm definitely making notes on the wallpaper assembly (?) for when I attempt my own wallpaper project.

Congrats on your links. They look GREAT! And of course, as usual, you took it a little bit farther with your fancy titles, etc. Good job!

(Isn't it amazing how much you can learn about someone's personality by reading this little blog?)