Tuesday, October 1, 2013

What we do when we're not...well, doing anything else!

If it seems like we're sort of sporadic with our house work it's because we both work a second job in our spare time. What do we do? Well, we restore old cars! No, really! We film a series for YouTube called AutoRestoMod.


This video series shows how to restore old cars. My cousin Jeff Ford is a host, along with Vince. If Jeff looks familiar, you may have seen him on a show called "Overhaulin'" with Chip Foose. He's also frequently seen around Aiken and the environs drooling over and talking about old cars!

They prefer that you believe that they look like this. However, they generally look more like this...

We are a "How To" show that actually shows you "How To"! Where a lot of shows say they are going to show you how to do something, then show you a few seconds, then suddenly the thing is done, we actually walk you step-by-step through the entire process. We film in a real garage and use real tools that almost anyone would have at their disposal. We run a very small crew with three cameras. There is Jeff and Vince as hosts of course, I run cameras with our Jib Crane Guru, Dustin. My buddy from Nebraska Carra McClelland handles our voice-over work and runs a camera when she's in town. 

Dustin and Carra goofing off!

Another good friend Kim Abbott from Georgia help us run camera when she's up visiting.
Kim helps Jeff assemble the mount for our tailgate camera.

We occasionally have friends and relatives drop by to help us film and they are usually drafted to be on the show! Here's my niece Sydney at the wheel of my 1965 Night Mist blue Mustang hardtop while Jeff sets up a shot.

It's fun working with teenagers!

So, that's it! When we're not restoring an old house, we're restoring old cars! If you'd like to check us out, the link to the YouTube channel is


If you have questions about anything in the videos, feel free to ask in the comments section for that particular video! We're pretty good about getting back to you. 

How bored can a teenager look while driving a classic Mustang? Allow Sydney to demonstrate!

So, now that you know what we're doing when we're not working on the house, hopefully some of my absences from the blog will make more sense! Until next time, have a good week! 

Monday, September 30, 2013

We're still here!

I apologize for my total lack of posts recently. I have no real excuse other than we've been busy with projects but nothing incredibly noteworthy. We finally got the garage door finished! YAY! This is a shot during the project. It really did not take all that long once we really got rolling...

The most interesting part of the installation for me was figuring out how we were going to attach those big old springs that allow the door to roll up! Vince's solution involved some ratchet straps and some praying on my part!! Once the door was on, we started shifting stuff around so that Vince could actually use it as a place to work on our cars and we also needed a place to store at least one of our classic Mustangs. In this case, our beloved 1973 Mustang Mach 1 "Jaws".

After moving some stuff around and throwing some stuff away, we managed to make room for some of our cabinets and started organizing tools. We still need to rearrange the left side of the garage and move things around so that the refrigerator sits flush against the wall rather than hogging up space in front of our chest freezer. Here's a photo after some cleaning....
Pardon Hobbes. He decided he needed to supervise!

Wow! The Mach 1 fits right in! Now to make some room so that we can easily walk around the car while we work!

A cleaned up cement pad and a view of the new door. Now to work on the siding back here that needs to be replaced and those walk-through doors that need to be replaced, and the pressboard there that needs replacing and oh! Did I mention that sway up there on the roof that needs attending to? 

Our current issue is building another two "cat pens" so that a few of our resident felines can comfortably hang out outside without dangers from dogs or cars...or just plain getting lost! Once construction starts on those, I'll post photos to show how we do it! 

Until next time from "The Ridge"! 
Jade says "Later!!"

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

It's been a furniture kind of week....

My husband was able to score the white dresser for me from the store downtown! YAY!

Here's an up-close view of that paint. When I say it was sticky, flies were landing on it and getting stuck to the surface. It smelled horrible too. Kind of smoky and disused. Sooo......
I busted out the orange smelling paint stripper and got to work on it!

Underneath the paint, lovely wood! The paint just lifted right off.

I've managed to partially strip one drawer and I have lots more to go. I've mentioned my lack of time issue before right??
In other exciting news, a friend of mine said she had an entire antique bedroom suite that I could have...for free!! WOOHOO! That's my kind of price! Of course, she mentioned it needed work and may just need to be thrown away. Well, not before I give it my all! So Vince and I ran over to her house on Saturday on our way to our weekend job (oh yes, we work two jobs!) and picked up the furniture. I love it! Yes, it is damaged but I'm going to try to either restore it or paint it up lovely! Pardon the dirt. These photos are before I lay hands on them even to just clean the dust off!

The headboard and foot board. Definitely a twin sized set. You can see some of the damage there where the veneer has pulled off.

The foot board has such a lovely curve to it. Just very elegant.

The chifforobe. Pardon the lighting! This piece is about 5 feet high.

This is the inside. Definitely needs a good cleaning and then we'll see to the condition. All of these pieces have little wooden wheels on the feet. I'm guessing they date from the 1910's-1930's.

This vanity is probably my favorite piece. It has it's original triple mirror (not pictured). I have all the drawers (sitting to the left there) and the little piece of wood from the front leg is laying on top. I even have all of the original hardware!

This is after my initial cleaning. I re-glued the veneer there in the middle (no, this isn't an Anne Sloan ad...although it could be!) and re-glued the little wood piece on the leg plus cleaned the first four layers of dust and dirt off. I'll give it at least two more baths then start to recondition the wood.
Yes, I've got a ton of work ahead of me...oh, did I mention that the room these pieces are stored in is the main parlor of my house and they have to be moved out ASAP so I can put down new carpet before Thanksgiving? Yeah, well, I think I need another week of vacation! I need to locate my wood glue...and the clamps...and ask Vince in my sweetest voice to help me cut 2x4's to size to hold peeling veneer on....
Is it the weekend yet?
Happy Tuesday from Ridge Spring!



Thursday, August 1, 2013

And now for something completely different....

I think I've mentioned before that I wanted to try my hand at refinishing furniture. Here's my first project...

I spotted it at "Stuff and Things" in downtown Ridge Spring yesterday on our way back from lunch. The store isn't open on Wednesdays so I sent my husband hurrying down there this morning to buy it before it slipped away! It has a lovely shape! My initial plan is to strip the white paint off of it. The current paint is very sticky. I'm not sure why. I'll take some in progress photos as I go! A very dear friend offered me an antique bedroom suite and I said I'd pick it up this weekend. I have absolutely no place to put it but off I go! I'll show some photos of it also. I may end up painting it with chalk paint! I look forward to trying that for the first time.

In other news, the SC Department of Transportation surprised us and removed one of the dying trees from the edge of the property for us. We were figuring we were going to be out of pocket at least $500.00 to get this dying Live Oak down. They saved us the trouble!

Now we just need to have the stump ground down. It will be nice to finally not have to worry about the limbs falling out of this tree during a storm. It's been a worry since we bought the place!

Tuesday, July 30, 2013


Just a short update today. Our one really bad chimney was finished up yesterday and the cap was put into place!

Isn't it pretty??

And look! A proper cap!
The masons were nice enough to place the cap and seal with tar. We will be able to remove it in the future should we decide to open the fireplaces. Now to wait for another two or three good rain storms to ensure we've actually fixed all the issues. Then we'll be tearing out carpet, replacing all damaged flooring, and deciding whether to put in carpet or try for hardwood flooring. We were going to have the other chimney repaired next, but the masons decided that they had underbid the project and wanted double for the other chimney. It's not currently leaking so we're going to give it a month or two before we call in other masons to bid the job. If we decide to stick with these guys, we'll order another cap and have them cap it too. We're hoping to be able to sell at least one of the two homes we currently have on the market before we do any other major renovations.

The last three Wednesdays we've been unable to do any research for various reasons, but we hope to be able to continue that soon. I'd love to make a trip to Columbia to go through their files too! So, until next time....

Chief says hello to the Yon cows...

Friday, July 12, 2013

Time to build an Ark....

South Carolina is flooded. OK, not New Orleans flooded but we're up to our figurative knee caps in water here. It has rained seemingly non-stop since.....well, as long as I can remember! June was a record month for rain here. Part of the Augusta Riverwalk is currently underwater.

This isn't actually a river. It's a full to overflowing retention pond.

That's a peach orchard there on the left and a wooded area on the right...and that's water flowing freely in front of my F150.
Needless to say, with all the rain, our chimney repairmen have not been able to get back out to finish up the chimney we've been having issues with. They did pull out what some idiot had fashioned as a chimney cap....
This piece of board, covered with a tiny bit of cement....

and a few of these does NOT a chimney cap make!!!
It was unbelievable. That piece of board was not much thicker than the cardboard backing that Wal-Mart supplies with their bookcases. This is why the floor is rotted out in the parlor. Either some former homeowner was just too cheap to pay someone to properly cap the chimney, thereby compromising the original hardwood floors in the house, they paid someone to do it and got taken, or they were just too ignorant to know that this was not right. I don't know. Now, this....
...is a properly capped chimney. This is the third chimney that goes into the wall in the library....that apparently used to be the kitchen in the house. We look forward to pulling that wall down and either repairing an old fireplace or installing a new stove!
The entire time we've been in the house and dealing with the chimney leak, our parlor hearth has looked like this...
We are coming in to the deal too late to save the floor unfortunately. It was leaking long before we purchased the house. If you look in the lower left hand corner beside the red towel, you can see the wet moldy carpet. As soon as the leak is stopped, this carpet and padding will be removed and replaced. The flooring underneath will need to be removed and a new sub floor installed. "The cheap becomes expensive." Yes, I'm angry. Angry that someone did not take care of the problem correctly the first time and then did not do a proper repair when the original fix failed which allowed the damage to get this far. We have ordered a proper cap for this chimney and another cap for the other chimney will follow.
Yes, that's Vince on the roof with a storm coming. He's attempting to place a tarp over the open chimney to try to stop further water intrusion. It worked.


Another day...and a much safer way! Tarping an area of the chimney the workers have not yet repointed. The pointing was very weak here and this area may have been allowing water in also.
As soon as the cap arrives, I'll post some photos of it close up and the installation! I am happy to know that the repairs that this home has needed for years are finally getting done. I know my neighbors think I'm crazy! Have a great weekend!
Tiger says, "YAY! It's Friday!!!"


Friday, June 28, 2013

Stumbling upon things and wondering...

Yesterday, Vince and I headed back to the Archives to renew our search. I promised a look at the research room where we sit so here it is!!

There are two tables in this room plus a desk with a computer and about six chairs. Those books back there have an index of wills, some records of land sales, and other interesting things!
Another view of the file vault! My favorite place! It's very cold in here to protect the documents. Had I known about this place as a teenager, I'd have spent my summers in here! All of these white boxes are Estate files....thousands upon thousands of them.

Very neatly organized and just waiting for me to have a spare moment...or lifetime!...to go through them.
Vince working with one of the big plat books. These things are massive. You can see the vault door back there open a bit and some of the file cabinets in the research area.

This week, I started with Sophia Boatwright's will. Now, Mrs. Sophia had 6 children. Their names in order of age from oldest to youngest were James, Elijah, Benjamin, Sarah, Faust, and Sumpter. I knew that my property had been sold to the DuBose family long before Mrs. Sophia departed this life, but I had hoped to....well, I don't know....learn something else about Ms. Sophia, I guess. I really am starting to feel like I know those people, at least a little bit. Sometimes, in reading all of these documents, I stumble upon something and wonder if that person never thought, "Gee, someone 100 years from now is going to see this..." That happened to me yesterday as I was looking over Ms. Sophia's will which was filed on 10/27/1890. I read the first part of the document which stated, "My beloved children Benjamin Boatwright, Sarah Boatwright, and Sumpter Boatwright." I knew she had more than 3 kids so I continued reading to find this....
Ouch, Ms. Sophia!
I'll transcribe that for you:
"The names of my three beloved children Faust Boatwright, James Boatwright, and Elijah Boatwright are purposely omitted as (something I can't decipher) under this my last will and testament it being my intention that they shall not share in my estate real and personal."
I'm not sure why they were cut out of the will. Obviously, as a mother, she loved those children. They were all grown adults when she passed. I'm sure she never thought 123 years after her death that some stranger would be reading her will and wondering what they did to upset their mother so. Other than that tidbit, I didn't learn anything I didn't already know.
The will signed with Mrs. Sophia's beautiful signature.
The plat idea for the one land purchase by BT that we thought may be our land was a bust. The plat was not done for BT, nor was it done for John Autrey when he bought the land from Mary Autrey. They were going by a plat that was done....get this...in 1770!!! That plat is located in Columbia at the South Carolina Archives and History department in "Colonial Plats". Yes, a lot of those are available online but they sure are hard to search that way!!! We're hoping someone up there may be able to help us out.
Wonderful Ms. Trisha shows Vince the online archives. She is a fount of knowledge!! I think she's almost as interested in our research as we are!
Because I had run up on a block in my mental map of this whole thing, I just kind of wandered aimlessly around the vault to see what was there and to maybe spark an idea of another avenue to explore. I was wondering down a center aisle when.....
Hammond murder??? Coroners Reports??? DO NOT TOUCH??
But WHY???
OK, so I peeked. Yes, I did....right into the box that says "Hammond Murder and Culbreath Lynching". The report right on top.....

From the Augusta Chronicle dated September 23, 1885.
A murder mystery!! Oh well. I will dive into that box another day! I glanced in one or two of the Chattel Mortgage books, more for curiosity's sake than anything else. They look like this....

Ancient loan paperwork for the win!
What did people mortgage??
In this case,

"One (1) black horse mule named George, about 10 years old,
 One (1) dark jersey milch (sp) cow not named about 12 years old,
 One (1) one horse wagon, make unknown, in good repair,
 All my crops of cotton, cotton seed, corn, peas, hay, fodder grown or raised or to be grown or raised by me and for me during the current year 1948 upon about 24 acres of cleared land owned by me in the county of Edgefield in the state of South Carolina, the said 24 acres being a part of a tract of land containing 130 acres and is bounded by land of....."

It goes on to give a fairly accurate description of where the land was located. Interesting stuff in the historical sense. Absolutely boring in the "I work in a bank and see loan paperwork all the time" sense!

That's pretty much it for today folks! Tune in next week when I take a day off and hit this research thing a bit harder! Also, some actual work may get done on the house and maybe some more projects done. Oh! And we'll go over chimney capping: how it should NOT be done. This one will make you laugh....or cry....or both. Personally, I did both. Laughed because luckily, I did not pay the so-and-so who did this and cried because he did this and he ruined the parlor floor in my house. This is the home repair version of the old saying, "It takes thousands of bolts and screws to hold a car together and only one nut to scatter it all over the road."

I'll leave you with a photo of Chief enjoying a sunset graze with the Guest House in the background.

Have a WONDEFUL weekend!


Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Actual house work!

Yes, this weekend the weather cooperated! No rain! It looked like this on Saturday:

Downtown Ridge Spring on a fairly quiet Saturday morning....

So, since we had no more excuses and the yard work was briefly caught up, we decided in the afternoon to tackle a job we'd bought the supplies for 8 months ago! When we bought the house, the attached one car garage did not have a garage door. One had been there at some point in the house's history, but like most things with an old house, who knew when and why it had been removed. In it's place was this:
Pardon our mess. As part of the process, we cleaned out the garage a bit!
What you see is three (well,technically 2 1/3!) sheets of barn board that were framed out, nailed up, lined with insulation, then had plastic taped over that. While effective in keeping out the weather, I believe that for what they spent in time and supplies to do this, they could have bought and installed a new garage door and been better off. This is at the start of the demolition process that involved Vince and his trusty 10 pound sledge hammer, known affectionately as "The Motivator" removing all this in record time. I don't have a shot available of the area before we cleaned and began demo! Sorry!
The inside looked like this...
Sorry for the dark photo. This garage was added in 1960 or so and is just a basic framed out wood construction garage with one single light bulb that does not shed much light at all. Our goal is to insulate the entire garage, drywall and paint it, and add fluorescent lighting. One step at a time! You can see the tracks for the previous garage door here. Looking at them, it appears that someone smacked into the door and damaged the tracks. We're assuming that's why the door was removed initially. 
Basically, all we got done was the demo part before I started dinner and we stopped for the night. Working inside the garage makes for a very hot, close job so we take it in short stints! I will post more photos as we go along with the install.
In other news, I piddled this weekend and worked on my bird plate project for my dining room wall. Nope, it's still not finished but it is closer! I need to get some plate hangers that I trust will not drop my ironstone to the floor and break it and I need to remove two immense bolts that are currently located in the area where I want to hang the plates. 
I saw this idea on another blog and on Pinterest and I LOVED it! Hers was done much better then mine but you get the idea! The file box there in the background is part of the whole clean-up-the-garage-so-we-can-install-the-new-door carnival of fun.
I monogrammed one glass just to see if I could do it. 3 more to do! This one did not turn out perfectly but it was my first shot using glass etching cream so it was a learning experience! Why, yes, I do have the attention span of a yellow lab! And Pinterest is evil! Just kidding!
The "before" and "after"...well, technically, the "after" then the "before"!
And I dragged this chair out of storage to stare at and debate whether I want to strip it completely and repaint it with milk paint or leave it as is. I don't mind chippy but this has reached a level of chippiness where there is barely any paint left on the bottom and legs! On the good side, the chair is nice and strong and sturdy and sits well so I want to incorporate it into my kitchen. I love it's lines. The hose there was my weapon of choice to remove the HUGE spider that was apparently using the chair in it's kitchen! I also washed off approximately 32 pounds of pine pollen...which is about 4 years worth. Pine pollen is the bane of the South in the Spring!
I have a ton of furniture to use milk paint on for practice purposes. I need space and time for these projects which, right now, I don't have. One day, I will take an entire week off and work on these things....that week will occur in approximately 2052.
This is Hobbes. He's helping. He's guarding the porch....or the chair....or something. Looks an awful lot like a nap to me, but he thinks he works very hard so we just go with it! He showed up as a gangly skinny 6 month old kitten last June 1 (our first night in this house) and stayed on. As you can tell, skinny he did not stay! His nickname is Jabba the Hobbes. He is on a diet....but don't tell him that!

I'll leave you with a shot from Juniper at lunchtime on Saturday. It is a lovely, unique place and well worth the drive to Ridge Spring. I recommend the Triple Decker sandwich!

Aren't they pretty?

 Tomorrow: We're off the the Edgefield Archives for some more research fun!