Entries to Win Afghan

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Winners are: 3rd place- e-book of your choice: Wendy Nystrom. 2nd place- book of your choice, paper or e-book: Sue Ann Crawford. Winner of the afghan: Elaine Hull.

Friday, October 20, 2017

My Trailer Redo - Days 56-60 - Paint Residue Removal Technique

There is no "next" step that's completely done yet, but I've been working some nearly every day. Getting the little fussy places cleaned that I ignored the first time around is really slow.

I've worked on both paint residue removal and fussy stuff every day that I've done anything, but I'm only counting them as one or the other in these reports.

At any rate, by trying several things that didn't work well, I made my way to a process that gets the last of the thin paint gunk off the gelcoat. It also does a good job of scrubbing off any little spots that might have been missed in the scraping. I'm trying to be extra fastidious because those little spots will be places the new paint will chip if not removed.

Here are the tools you need: Lacquer thinner, kitchen scrubbies- the kind with a sponge on one side and an abrasive pad on the other, the cheapest paper towels you can find- get a few rolls because you need clean wipes constantly. Plus the Citristrip. And I did wear gloves when playing in the lacquer thinner.

paint residue removal

These pictures aren't as good as one could wish for. I tried to photograph an area where the residue was thick enough to really see, but it's difficult anyway. If you look at the surface in real life, on an angle, you can clearly see a dull residue even if there is no color change. And you can easily feel it if you run your hand across the surface.

This picture shows an area on the left that has been cleaned, but not on the right.

paint residue removal

I applied a VERY thin coat of the Citristrip stripper over the area to be cleaned. Brush it out as thin as you want. Thin is good for this step.

Not sure why this picture is so overall pink unless I got some refraction from the color of the stripper. Anyway, you can see vertical brush strokes on the area I'm trying to clean for this demonstration.

paint residue removal

Let it sit for at least 15 minutes. Longer is fine. I liked the way it worked best when the weather was warmer and it actually dried. It made the next step less gunky.

After the wait time, pour some lacquer thinner on the abrasive side of the sponge. (Don't use just an abrasive pad because the solvent just runs through it. The sponge holds the liquid in place.) Scrub that area, adding more thinner as needed. A little extra elbow grease will get the spots you might have missed with the scraper. Again, the whole picture has a very pink cast, but notice the circular scrub marks.

paint residue removal

Wipe the area down with paper towels, changing them as often as necessary to actually remove the gunk rather than just spread it around.

Finally, take a clean paper towel, pour lacquer thinner on it and wipe the whole area down again. Do this until no more pink/orange gunk shows on the towel. I kept refolding the towel to get a clean face with each swipe- you can use both sides too.

paint residue removal

When this dries, you can run your hand over it and feel that it is really clean. You can see a faint line farther to the right that is the border with the area I just cleaned and the next one to do.

Finally, you can wash the sponge out with plain water to reuse the next day. Just make sure it's mostly dry before you use again. Rock hard dry, however, is not good. The solvent actually doesn't have any ability to moisten the sponge part.

So, how am I doing? Sigh. Not even halfway. That said, this is pretty easy, so on the days I work, I'm trying to spend more actual time on the fussy and hard parts to clean. A few places are turning out to be real dogs. More on that next time.

Accountability report:
Worked all day.
Came home and worked on trailer until dark (which is getting really short).
No writing has happened, but I could get a few words banged out before going back to work for the night. It's possible.

See Sealing the Crack
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Thursday, October 19, 2017

Finally, Some Color!

It's getting really late in the season, but we finally have a bit of color showing up. Took this on the way out of the driveway this morning. The red is staghorn sumac, and the yellow is grapevines covering everything. I really should cut those down, but I could spend at least four hours a day just doing upkeep on the plants and supposed gardens here. Not gonna happen.

autumn color

But the best is that wonderful hybrid cherry tree on the other side of the railroad tracks. This is the tree that has been occasionally used on logos or ads for this blog. It's also the tree that took so long to identify. It is apparently some sort of cross between a commercial and wild cherry. Anyway, definitely some cherry.

I thought I'd lost it this summer in the fire. Some tree went up in a towering blaze. I couldn't tell what tree with all the smoke, but it was just about in the same place. My heart sank, because I love to watch this tree go through the seasons. But after all was under control I realized the fire was on our side of the tracks and this tree is on the other side. (Which of course, means it's not my tree at all. I just hope the owner never decides to cut it.)

hybrid cherry

Here's the picture from 2010. Which do you like best?

hybrid cherry

I like today's better. I want you to know that ever since that day in 2010 when the tree glowed like that in afternoon light, I've been hoping to have another afternoon like that. This is the first year that it's had such good color since then!

Accountability report:
Worked all day. Came home and worked on the trailer till dark. Spent almost two hours on the phone with various people. Not my favorite activity, and it put a fatal damper on writing. Also made a potato soup in the crockpot that wasn't so good. I don't have to keep that recipe.

See Robert Tackles the Mystery Tree
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Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Sun, Moon, Venus, Sun, Sun

Time passes. We can measure it out in doses of the movement of heavenly bodies.

Sunrise yesterday with the crescent moon and Venus. Mars was supposed to be there somewhere too, but maybe there was already too much light to see it.

sunrise, moon, Venus

Sunset yesterday.


Sunset today.


In between these worthy markers I've been busy. I'm working really hard on the trailer. Not enough finished to give you a report yet. The fussy clean-up parts just take a ton of time.

Work yesterday and today.

Various other activities.

Accountability report:
Started Chapter 50 of Dead Mule Swamp Druggist. 420 words written, and a plot transition figured out.

See I'll Take a Slice of That
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Tuesday, October 17, 2017

New Plant- Cutleaf Blackberry

Learned a new plant this week. Too bad it's not a good one.

I was out at the Art Barn helping to set up the Spooky Trail for Halloween. Ran into (literally) a bush with horrible killer thorns. Not a good picture, but it's the best I have now.

Rubus laciniatus

I had no idea what it is. The thorns looked like blackberry, but the leaves sure didn't.

Rubus laciniatus

Flowers? Another bad picture. But pretty much like a blackberry. Oddish triple-pinked outer edges. Slightly pink.

Rubus laciniatus

A little farther on (lots of these bushes snagging clothes and hands. Ouchy) I found... berries.

Rubus laciniatus

I was quite sure at this point it was some kind of blackberry, so I took a tiny taste. Yup. Very tasty. Ate one.

The core and sepals where the berry comes off look very blackberry.

Rubus laciniatus

Came home and looked it up. Blackberry. Cutleaf or Evergreen Blackberry, Rubus laciniatus. Alien, invasive. But often planted for the nice berries. I think that was the origins of these bushes a generation or so ago.

They can grow into small trees, overrunning other vegetation and creating impenetrable thickets. I can believe that. It has multitudes of recurved thorns that are even worse than the native blackberry. Spots I snagged on my hands are still sore today.

I'll try to get some better pictures to put on my plant pages.

Accountability report: 180 words on Dead Mule Swamp Druggist, to finish Chapter 49. Just for fun, and as a writing exercise, took a challenge from another writer to create a horror story in two sentences. Wrote three in my head while working (they are posted on Facebook). I'm not a fan of horror, but it's good to practice skills outside one's comfort zone sometimes.

See Purple in the Fields
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Monday, October 16, 2017

Handbell Choir - It is Well & Softly and Tenderly

Yesterday was also handbell choir Sunday, and I got someone to push the video button on the camera that was able to do so before we started playing. You would think this to be an easy skill, but I haven't had much luck.

Both of these arrangements are really pretty, despite the fact that they are easier pieces than some of the things we played last year.

The prelude was "It Is Well With My Soul." It's fairly long, but I love the way the minor key comes in.

For the anthem, we did "Softly and Tenderly" with a soloist. If you are familiar with hymns, you'll notice right away that this is an alternate tune. I have the opening note on this song, so I had to really pay attention! I like the runs in the bass. See if you can hear them. Dale and I coordinated pretty well to play the runs even with a missing person.

In other news: here's my accountability report.

Saturday I wrote about 300 words, Sunday I wrote nothing. Today I wrote 460 words. This looks so pathetic, but I have to trust that it's better than nothing.

See Handbells- Hard Version
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