8x10Gallery.com http://www.8x10gallery.com/Wordpress A site about my interest in computers, cameras, cycling, cooking, cars and now camping Wed, 25 Nov 2015 16:10:32 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Paprika for iPad, Windows and Mac – Easy to catalog recipes, shopping list and now a big discount http://www.8x10gallery.com/Wordpress/index.php/2015/11/25/paprika-for-ipad-windows-and-mac-easy-to-catalog-recipes-shopping-list-and-now-a-big-discount/ http://www.8x10gallery.com/Wordpress/index.php/2015/11/25/paprika-for-ipad-windows-and-mac-easy-to-catalog-recipes-shopping-list-and-now-a-big-discount/#comments Wed, 25 Nov 2015 14:44:03 +0000 http://www.8x10gallery.com/Wordpress/?p=3086 Since we’re in the full swing of the holiday season, it’s appropriate to bring up another stellar iOS app that has both Windows and Mac equivalents. Paprika is a recipe box app that I bought a few years ago. In fact, I think I picked up a copy within a day or two of it’s initial release. For some strange reason, recipe apps were all but nonexistent for the iPad, which just struck me as odd since the iPad is a perfect cooking companion.

Paprika stepped in with the ability to create a recipe database. It was basically just a shell to give you a place to store ingredients and instructions. On the surface it seemed far to simple, but in reality it was incredibly flexible and powerful.

We now jump ahead a couple of years and not only has the app grown more powerful, there are now versions that run on most platforms. And like Notebooks, Paprika looks and runs the same across different platforms so you don’t have to deal with oddities just because you switched to a different device.

The big features of Paprika are the fact that you can import recipes from multiple sources, you can copy recipes directly from websites wherein Paprika will understand the different sections and set up the recipe correctly, you can set up recipes on your desktop machine and sync them to your device (and vice versa) and you can set up shopping lists using both ingredients needed for the recipes you have planned using the meal planner as well as adding your own items that have nothing to do with cooking such as shampoo. This means you can now put together a shopping list on any computer or device and then have that list with you when you’re actually in the store. I’ve had a couple of different shopping list apps (Shopper being one of the best) and following a list saves a whole lot of time and money at the store.

You could also have someone fill out a shopping list for you on their copy of Paprika and send it over to you so there is no guesswork about which items you need to pick up.

Anyway, I’ve had Paprika by my side for a few years now and like I said, there is now a Windows and Mac version. Better still, all versions are on sale. There is a 50% discount across the board. The iPad app is only $2.99 while the desktop versions are a mere $9.99 each. Further, the desktop versions allow you to install on 3 separate machines which is a great deal. Ironically, I paid $9.99 when Paprika first came out for the iPad.

Paprika is the type of app you can use on a regular basis. You can now plan out meals and put together shopping lists with ease. It works great with the iPad Mini which is what I take to the store with me. Even if you only do a little bit of cooking, Paprika is an app I highly recommend you have by your side.

Paprika Recipe Manager on sale for a 50% discount

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And just like that, the house is done http://www.8x10gallery.com/Wordpress/index.php/2015/11/07/and-just-like-that-the-house-is-done/ http://www.8x10gallery.com/Wordpress/index.php/2015/11/07/and-just-like-that-the-house-is-done/#comments Sat, 07 Nov 2015 15:50:00 +0000 http://www.8x10gallery.com/Wordpress/?p=3088 So there it is. It’s over. Bring up the lights and roll the credits. The house is done! I’m stunned to even say such a thing. Not only did I never think to start remodeling a house, I thought it just as likely the project would never end. But we did it! The house is done and I have to say, I’m pretty damn impressed with the work we’ve put into it.

Well, complete is a relative term, but for now, we’re going to say this house is done. All the painting is finished, the bathroom has been remodeled, the kitchen has new appliances and tile, and the floors have been stripped, sanded and stained. That was the original plan – mostly, but there were a couple of side projects along the way.

In addition to the above, it was decided to add gutters and rain barrels to help control some of the drainage and give an easily collectable water supply for the lawn.

Next, a deck was added to make a better entrance and what house doesn’t benefit from a deck?

Since the house didn’t have a dishwasher, we thought it good measure to add one. It’s not quite in the usual place, but a spot was created, enclosed and all the plumbing run to put it in full working order.

If you’re going to cook, you need a disposal. Always a good idea and this needed was to an outlet to a switch. Oh yeah, and jam a giant Insinkerator into the plumbing.

And let us not forget the project that made me think I broke the bloody house, the attic. With a few power tools, a bit of time and some determination, you too can cut a giant hole in your ceiling and turn it into usable storage space.

But there it is. It’s all done. There are some odd and ends to deal with, but we are not only going to call this project done, but we’re going to call it a success! The goal was to fix up the place to make it better. To make it livable again and by that criteria, we have exceeded the mark admirably.

I have to say, this wasn’t an easy or cheap project, but results were worth it. The new hardwood floors are quite stunning, the deck is fantastic and the attic is going to be a huge help since the house doesn’t really have any storage. Instead of a deck, I would have preferred to add a proper laundry room, but the estimates on that were as much as buying another house in the same neighborhood.

Next year there will be a focus on some landscaping as well as removing the interior doors to have them completely stripped to remove the old paint and all the marker that still shows through. The front porch will also be repainted and sealed. I also need to get at least one more set of rain barrels as the first two filled up almost immediately. Even with a light rain, the amount of water collected is huge. At this rate I should be able to get a soaker hose and take care of the lawn for months.

So is there anything that should have been done differently? To be honest, no. I would have preferred a laundry room, but the deck is fantastic and I’m thrilled it’s there. I can’t really think of anything that should have been done differently. Just to take another shot at them, I certainly wouldn’t buy appliances from BestBuy and would instead get them from Lowe’s.

As I step back and look, this house has features you wouldn’t find in a home 5 times more expensive. It has a huge front porch, it has extremely high ceilings, it has hardwood floors, it has a fenced in back yard, and now appliances that would make most home chefs jealous. It may have cost a few dollars to get this far, but I think it was worth it.

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Living room furniture gets delivered on time – Pay attention BestBuy http://www.8x10gallery.com/Wordpress/index.php/2015/10/31/living-room-furniture-gets-delivered-on-time-pay-attention-bestbuy/ http://www.8x10gallery.com/Wordpress/index.php/2015/10/31/living-room-furniture-gets-delivered-on-time-pay-attention-bestbuy/#comments Sat, 31 Oct 2015 17:45:00 +0000 http://www.8x10gallery.com/Wordpress/?p=3090 It may be Halloween, but there is an interesting treat about to be delivered – the living room set. As mentioned, the trip to Ashley furniture started off in one direction, but by the end, a completely different living room set had been picked out. I originally wanted something brown, perhaps "leatherish" to go with the hardwood floors. They were nice, but not really the right look. Plus, some clearly wouldn’t fit in the space of the living room.

After scanning through just about everything they had to offer, we found a fabric set that actually used the same colors as we had chosen for the house. Not only was it a good color match, it was extremely comfortable. It was also a sectional set so we could mix and match pieces around to fit how the room would go together. It had a chaise at one end, a big comfy corner piece and small couch pieces that would fit perfectly.

We had agreed to have the furniture delivered on Halloween as it was a Saturday and it gave plenty of time for the floors to dry and cure after being sanded and stained. Ashley Furniture had no problem holding the delivery even though it’s their desire to deliver within 7 days.

The window for delivery was set between 12 -3 and right at 11:30 I got a call saying they were on their way. Hey look, they’re actually going to show up when they said they would – BestBuy should try and emulate that.

Almost at the stroke of noon the truck pulled up and the furniture was unloaded. They checked to make sure they had the right pieces, checked to make sure they would fit and then within minutes they were in the living room being uncovered. They even brought pads to put on the legs so they wouldn’t scratch the new floors. They also put the furniture close to, but not touching the walls so they wouldn’t scratch or mark those either.

Within 30 minutes the furniture was in place and the delivery guys were done. All the pieces were correct and it looked perfect. Again, BestBuy should pay attention to these little details. It’s amazing how excited people get when the things they order show up on time and are correct.

And just like that, a room full of furniture. It looks great! We also got an excellent deal on the price and financing. There were other pieces I wanted, but I wanted to make sure they could handle the first purchase before going in for more. I’m completely sold on getting a kitchen table and chairs as well as bedroom set from them. They have those fantastic Tempur-pedic memory foam mattresses I want so almost without a doubt it will come from them.

So that really is the last piece. The last thing we needed to get done. Living room furniture is now in place so I guess I will bring the TV in and set it up. It will be coupled with a small streaming media computer I got just to handle movies. This may not be a media room on intent, but that’s almost exactly what it’s turning into. This room is going to be great!

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Just kidding, time for another project – Garbage Disposal http://www.8x10gallery.com/Wordpress/index.php/2015/10/28/just-kidding-time-for-another-project-garbage-disposal/ http://www.8x10gallery.com/Wordpress/index.php/2015/10/28/just-kidding-time-for-another-project-garbage-disposal/#comments Wed, 28 Oct 2015 19:33:00 +0000 http://www.8x10gallery.com/Wordpress/?p=3082 This place is starting to feel like the Winchester House. If construction stops we’re doomed!

There is in fact, one last project. It’s a relatively simple one, but again, I think it’s a good idea. Cue the dramatic music because that’s when the problems start.

When Brent and I last talked before making the final install for the appliances, the idea of a disposal was brought up. The house doesn’t have one, but it seems like a good idea. Can something like that be done?

It appears that it can. It will take a bit of work and a tile or two might need to be removed, but we are on board for making it happen. It seems silly to have all these new appliances, all this capability of making food stuff and then be stymied by a lack of disposal. These are absolute must haves for a kitchen, but clearly it’s better to have one than not.

Brent is going to get a 3/4 horsepower Insinkerator model and hook it up to a space that’s available. This too will take a bit of trickery to make work as he has to cut through the cabinets and snake some wire up the wall. Again, I have full confidence Brent can pull this off. He has yet to be stumped or slowed by the hurdles of this house.

He says the Insinkerator is the best model to get and will last years. We’re going with the higher end model with more power since I have really came to adhere to the mantra that it’s better to spend the money now, do it right, do it once and forget about it.

This truly will be the last project for the house. No more things to install. No more wires to run. No more holes to be cut or holes to be patched. No more plumbing. No more tiling. No more painting. This is it! We’re done! The movie’s over!

At this point, it’s time to clean, scrub and get ready for furniture. In fact, the living room set I bought will be here on Saturday – barring any blundering BestBuy sort of idiocy. Yes, BestBuy is my benchmark for how bad a company can be.

So that’s it! After a few months of sanding, painting, caulking, tiling and cutting, the house is done!

Ok, in reality there is a bit more to be done, like sanding and stripping the interior doors and painting the porch as well as some other odds and ends, but no more construction projects.

Of course, I’ve said that sort of thing before…

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Sealing and waterproofing the deck http://www.8x10gallery.com/Wordpress/index.php/2015/10/25/sealing-and-waterproofing-the-deck/ http://www.8x10gallery.com/Wordpress/index.php/2015/10/25/sealing-and-waterproofing-the-deck/#comments Sun, 25 Oct 2015 19:17:00 +0000 http://www.8x10gallery.com/Wordpress/?p=3080 Sealing and waterproofing the deck is long overdue. It’s not like it’s been years or anything, but I really want to get this taken care of before things really get cold. The weather hasn’t been cooperating though. The weather was great right after the deck was finished, but as soon as it was time to seal the deck we had weeks of rain brought on by a series of tropical thunderstorms sweeping up from Florida.

When that had blown over, it continued to rain every weekend and thwarted my plans at every turn.

But the clouds have parted and it’s moment to strike! I ran out and got several gallons of Thompson’s Water Seal in the Clear formula. I don’t want to stain the deck, just seal it. I also grabbed a sprayer, brushes and a roller just in case.

I got everything the night before so I wouldn’t burn any daylight. Turns out it’s cloudy again and looks like it’s going to rain. Why me I ask?!?!

It didn’t rain, but the threat kept me from working. I decided I would go ahead and power wash all the dirt and debris from the wood and in case it didn’t rain, I could do it on Sunday.

It didn’t rain overnight, so Sunday I was a flurry of motion with spraying and painting on sealant. It didn’t go through the sprayer as well as I had hoped. It was more of a splatter than a spray, but it was coating so went with it.

I used the brush for the hand rail and slats. It was easy work but took a long time to complete. I think I would have been better off using a roller on the deck itself and to be honest, I might try and apply a new coat in Spring just to make sure I got it all.

However, the work is done and it looks good. It penetrates well and is easy to apply. The reviews on the Clear seal was all over the place. Some said it was great, some said it sucks. For now, it seems really good to me. Funny thing is, it’s going to rain tomorrow night, so let’s see how this works.

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The attic, a dishwasher, power lines and water lines http://www.8x10gallery.com/Wordpress/index.php/2015/10/23/the-attic-a-dishwasher-power-lines-and-water-lines/ http://www.8x10gallery.com/Wordpress/index.php/2015/10/23/the-attic-a-dishwasher-power-lines-and-water-lines/#comments Fri, 23 Oct 2015 18:48:00 +0000 http://www.8x10gallery.com/Wordpress/?p=3065 So, things looked a lot worse before they started looking better. Since we needed power in the attic, it seemed like a fine idea to add some outlets to the baseboards in that room. Makes sense, right?

When the sideboards came off, they did the same thing as they did with the ceiling. The plaster was almost part of the wood and once again came off in big chunks. To be honest, this feels like we’re doing more harm than good to the house. We haven’t (or rather, I haven’t) run into anything like this with the work we’ve done and it’s seem like we’ve asked too much. It seemed like a good idea, but the plaster is coming off and I’m not sure how much more the house can take. Remember, this place is nearly 100 years old and we’re cutting holes that were never anticipated.

As always, Brent is unconcerned and undeterred. He expected it to do this sort of thing and again, is fully confident he can patch over the damaged bits. To be honest, it’s not really that extensive, but when you’ve worked so hard and are so close to being done, even small setbacks seem monumental.

Again, I’m glad Brent is handling this. He’s seen this sort of thing before and knows how to handle it. This is nothing new and is typical for the work being done.

The attic isn’t the only thing Brent is working on. As mentioned, he’s going to add some outlets to that room since he needs to run some modern power for the attic lights. Since he will be under the house, he’s going to hook up the water line for the fridge.

I am now going to take a moment and once again complain about how useless and incompetent BestBuy has been in this whole affair. First they harpoon the washer. Then they forget the gas lines you absolutely must have and buy from them. In yet another bonehead move, turns out, they never sent the waterline for the fridge. Make no mistake, I was charged for a stainless model at an outrageous markup, but was it actually included? Nope. Better to send two sets of washer hookups than all the pieces for the fridge. It’s not even worth complaining to get my money back. They just act like deer in the headlights and do nothing to help. You suck BestBuy. You absolutely suck.

Anyway, Brent got a new line and will be installing that. Not to be outdone, he is also going to hook up the dishwasher. Keep in mind, this house doesn’t have a dishwasher, nor a space for one. So how the devil is this going to work?

It will be hooked up in the space normally reserved for the fridge. The fridge I got was far too large to fit there. Also, the dryer sits in close proximity and is far larger than the compact one that used to sit there. The space between them will be a dash tight, but it’s better to have the dishwasher than the space.

Where will it drain? We will cut a small opening in the panel that separates the washer and dishwasher. An elbow joint will be added to the drain tube and both the washer and dishwasher will use the same drain and water supply. Not to mention, the fridge will be fed from the same water source.

Yes indeed, all three are hooked up in the same place!

Brent is going to make a small enclosure for the dishwasher which will act as it’s small cabinet. If this works, it’s going to be magic!

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Dishwasher in place with it’s small, efficient cabinet enclosure. Also, an outlet was added so this can be used to hold small appliances.

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We changed out the faucet since everything water related was being done.

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A look at the attic space

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The attic stairs with the ceiling fixed, the side boards fixed and the wall cleaned.

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First cup of ice! The first couple of batches of ice need to be thrown away, but hey, it’s all working!

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Some broken stairs and an extremely brittle roof http://www.8x10gallery.com/Wordpress/index.php/2015/10/21/some-broken-stairs-and-an-extremely-brittle-roof/ http://www.8x10gallery.com/Wordpress/index.php/2015/10/21/some-broken-stairs-and-an-extremely-brittle-roof/#comments Wed, 21 Oct 2015 18:23:00 +0000 http://www.8x10gallery.com/Wordpress/?p=3063 One of my fears has sort of come to pass. We did hit a snag with the drop stairs. The first set was broken and needs to be replaced. Second, the ceiling is extremely brittle and when a space was cut out for the stairs, a fair amount of the plaster came loose.

The actual ceiling is still in tact, but right at the opening, it peeled away just like it did when I removed the wallpaper border in the bathroom. Clearly nothing Brent has done, but I have to say it fills me with concern that the entire ceiling is going to give way and come crashing down. Had I been doing the work, I most likely would have soiled myself and screamed in terror. Since it happened while Brent was doing the surgery, I don’t feel so bad.

 

For some reason that ceiling appears far more cracked and damaged than any other room in the house. And yes, that was well before we cut into it. It’s like it was done at a different time or has different material.

The plaster in the affected area will be covered up with support boards from the stairs and will be patched with plaster. There is so much patching plaster in this house you have to laugh.

Brent says the ceiling is stronger than it looks and should be fine for many years to come. He has full confidence everything is fine.

Well, it sort of has to be. We’ve put a giant hole in the ceiling so we need to make the best of this. We can’t stop now!

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Carving out some space for an attic http://www.8x10gallery.com/Wordpress/index.php/2015/10/19/carving-out-some-space-for-an-attic/ http://www.8x10gallery.com/Wordpress/index.php/2015/10/19/carving-out-some-space-for-an-attic/#comments Mon, 19 Oct 2015 18:14:00 +0000 http://www.8x10gallery.com/Wordpress/?p=3061 Finishing the bathroom was supposed to be a finish to the work on the house. Turns out that’s not the case. As hinted at previously, Brent talked about carving out a space for an attic. Since the house is very light on closet space, it seemed like a good idea. Brent is the only one who has managed to squeeze and snake his way up the exceptionally small hole cut in the closet ceiling that gives access to the attic. How he got up there I don’t understand, but he says there is a lot of room up there and unlike what most people are used to, there’s nothing up there. No duct work, no wires, no piping, no cables. Just some slats and beams. I took his word for it and construction has now begun on making a new opening and then laying down boards to make a 16×16 space that can be used for storage.

This is going to be a bare bones affair. We will use the standard drop stairs and the floor will be some sturdy boards. Some wiring will be run for lighting with a simple switch. This isn’t a room, just storage. A couple of adjustments will need to be done to the beams, but it won’t have an impact on the roofline or structure of the house.

While it doesn’t seem or sound like a big deal, it does involve cutting into the ceiling which makes me nervous. I think it’s a good idea and if this place is going to have storage space, it’s almost a must have.

Brent feels confident so we are going to forge ahead. There is quite a bit of labor involved in this project and the stairs won’t be cheap either. The timing could have been better and we should have done this before the floors were restored. But who knew there was this sort of space available and the floor was already scheduled.

I think we should be fine.

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Painting the bathroom Part 2 http://www.8x10gallery.com/Wordpress/index.php/2015/10/11/painting-the-bathroom-part-2/ http://www.8x10gallery.com/Wordpress/index.php/2015/10/11/painting-the-bathroom-part-2/#comments Mon, 12 Oct 2015 00:31:00 +0000 http://www.8x10gallery.com/Wordpress/?p=3059 So the first coat of paint is on the walls and once this dries there will be some patch work to do and then another coat. Everything gets two coats.

The walls in the house are quite old so there are plenty of hairline cracks all over the place. They are mostly cosmetic and just need to be covered over with a bit of spackle. Plus, there are lots of rough spots on the wall that could use a little smoothing out. The dining room is held together with caulking compound and at this rate the bathroom will be held together with spackle.

Had it been part of the budget, the best course of action would have been to take down the walls and replace them with drywall. However, that would have been a major undertaking on it’s own and considering the walls really aren’t damaged that didn’t feel entirely necessary. With some new paint and filling in the problem areas, this should work just fine.

Again, this is one awkward space to work in. Normally just a step stool is needed, but the ceilings are so high that a full ladder has to be used and that leaves little room to walk around.

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Things are starting to look better. The paint looks a little whitish, but it really has a lot more blue in it. It is a bit shiny, but that’s ok.

 

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The trim still needs to be done, but that isn’t a critical component. Running around the small area with a brush is far easier than going over all the walls with a roller. I can use the step stool for the other bits.

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Just a shot showing the old color in the corner and the new color on the wall. Clearly that is too small a space for a roller so out comes the brush.

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Painting the bathroom, the last major painting project http://www.8x10gallery.com/Wordpress/index.php/2015/10/10/painting-the-bathroom-the-last-major-painting-project/ http://www.8x10gallery.com/Wordpress/index.php/2015/10/10/painting-the-bathroom-the-last-major-painting-project/#comments Sun, 11 Oct 2015 01:19:00 +0000 http://www.8x10gallery.com/Wordpress/?p=3051 So here we are with the last major painting project of the house. With the floors recently finished, we haven’t worked on the house for fear of scuffing those lovely new floors. However, the work must continue and painting the bathroom is one of the last projects. In fact, it’s the last of the large painting projects. It’s also the one that will require the large amount of plastic since spilling a renegade drop of paint on the brand new tiles or grout would be a disaster.

Once the bathroom was taped off, the first order of business was to cover the entire surface with Killz to get rid of the much darker cover. I also have to say, the bathroom is about the most awkward room I have ever painted. It’s quite small and cramped. I actually had to put part of the ladder in the bathtub in order to reach the high places.

It was first trimmed in Killz, then the rest was rolled on. My original intent was to remove the border wallpaper trim that some goof decided to put up. Why do people put wallpaper in the bathroom?

Well, removing that didn’t go so well. Oh it came of with relative ease, but so did the underlying plaster. It all began to crumble and tear off in my hands. I only did a small sample area, but had I kept going, the damage would have been pretty extensive. Time to go with the backup plan.

We had talked about simply painting over the wallpaper if it didn’t come off, or layering over it with spackle. For now, it’s going to be painted. If it looks too obvious, then out comes the spackle.

Unfortunately, the room looks uglier now than when I started. Everything is a patchy white, but that’s to be expected. This is just to get things ready. Tomorrow, the walls will be painted with the same Gravity as the kitchen. It’s still going to be bluish, but a lighter shade. The bathroom is just too damn dark, even with all the white tiles.

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Oh hell, I was afraid of this. The wallpaper is literally pulling the plaster off the walls.

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Have no fear, a wee bit of spackle and it’ll look like I was never here. I hope.

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The bathroom looks pretty splotchy with just a layer of Killz on it. Not a problem, it’s just to help mute the underlying paint and give the new paint something better to stick to. Should look fine when it’s actually painted.

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