Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Hannah's Recital

Hannah and her friend Arielle before the performance

On Sunday Hannah had her violin recital a day she's prepared for these past few months.  All the practicing, the two rehearsals with the other kids and the nerves were coming together for this performance.  She was both excited as well as dealing with the butterflies in her stomach.

After the first 8 kids played it was Hannah's turn.  They had all just met once with the pianist the day before and while the piano accompanying the students added to their chosen pieces, it also served to throw many of the students off a bit and Hannah was one of those.  All of them rallied to push through and complete their pieces which was really impressive.  Hannah played the theme from Jurassic Park for her solo.


Following her solo were 6 more solo's, a trio of two violins and a cello playing together and a quintet that played a country piece called Johnny's Hoedown that was a change from many of the more classical pieces of the day.

Then it was time for the group to perform the William Tell Overture.  This was something Hannah was really looking forward to, but was concerned with holding up her part in the orchestra.  Here is a video of their efforts, Hannah was so excited at the end that she can be seen jumping for joy.


The group preparing to play

Getting ready - excited and nervous

The final two pieces were played by their teacher who played the kids choice of Let It Go, from Disney's film Frozen and Vivaldi's Four Season piece Winter.  With that we ended a wonderful day.
We surprised Hannah with flower, purple of course, at the end and gave her a bouquet to give to her teacher for all her efforts.

Hannah's relieved to have this over, but also a bit disappointed that she doesn't have anything to prepare for and look forward to.  We've assured her there will be plenty of more opportunities in the future as this is something she loves and wants to pursue.

Hannah with her flowers in front of the Sanford Women's Club were the event was held

I was so impressed with this whole group.  All of the kids had only two opportunities to practice together before this performance.  There were all different skill levels and once they were together with the guidance of their teacher Yvonne Bennetti they really put their best efforts forwarded and we all were able to enjoy the results.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Lauren's 10th Birthday

It's Lauren's 10th birthday today and she's now joined the double digit club age group.  No more single digit birthdays,  Kevin says he now has two "double digit midgets", with both Hannah and Lauren.  Cameron's a bit too tall to fit in that category.

We had a quiet day celebrating at home.  Lauren wanted McDonald's for lunch, so we picked that up. Grandma and Poppie came over later for cake and ice cream, and for opening presents.

Opening her presents

Hannah played happy birthday for Lauren on her violin

One of the gifts she wanted is the movie Big Hero 6, so we'll be watching that for movie night tonight.  She's currently busy with Hannah playing with some of her new craft items.   Baba and Grandpa called from California to wish her a happy birthday. All in all it's been a good day.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Fireplace Update 4 - Airstone Installation

The progress on this phase of the fireplace, has taken a bit longer with Kevin's time and schedule having to be divided with work and school projects, so he actually accomplished a lot in a relatively short amount of time, when he did have the time to work on the fireplace.

After going to Lowe's in Port Orange to pick up the Airstone, we made a trip to a local stone yard to choose some thinner pieces of stone in color assortments we liked and would work with the colors in the Airstone.  After sorting through all the bins, we took a couple of carts and picked out our stones, then took them to be weighed and check out.  Once home we hosed the dirt off them and brought them inside to lay out in possible positions covering the brick on the hearth.

Found our stones at Pebble Junction in Sanford

Some of our stones drying after being sprayed to clean.  Love some of the colors in these.

Once we made sure we'd have enough to cover the space, I took a picture for reference then removed them and stacked them behind the couch. Now it was time to start installing the Airstone.  The instructions recommend beginning from the bottom up, so the stones can support the ones above them as the adhesive dries.  The problem with that is the uneven base and wanting to make sure everything was level.  To make sure the stones didn't slide down the wall before the adhesive set we had to create a makeshift brace to hold the heavier pieces in place until they were dry enough to stay put. Kevin's level, a spare piece of wood and our antique ash box did the trick.

Stones laid out to begin to get an idea of how they might work, then we'll have to cut some to fit just right.
First Airstone going up

Adhesive gets "buttered" on the back

Our low tech support system for the stones

As I mentioned above Kevin had to work on this project as his schedule allowed, but when he got busy on this he made progress very quickly.

All that's needed to cut the Airstones is a hacksaw, though a masonry blade on a chop saw would be easier on the arms!

The first side's almost done along with the top rows

Almost done

TA DA!!!

With the Airstone now in place our next step is to lay the stones on the hearth, then it will be time to build the mantel.

We'll have to fill the gaps in the base on each side made when we removed the old fireplace

Stone hearth pieces stacked behind our couch waiting for installation

We're liking the results so far.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Fireplace Update 3 - Decisions

We've made progress with the tape and texture process to fix the sides where they meet with the walls on either side of the fireplace. There were fairly large gaps that needed to be covered and Kevin wanted to take the time to let each coat dry properly so they don't crack and cause problems when we paint.  It takes a while, but is looking good and is about ready for our next steps.

As we prepare we have some decisions to make.  I had some ideas for the style I wanted for tile, or stone, mantel types and whether I wanted drywall above the mantel or stone.  So here are a few ideas I liked.

I liked this look with the darker tile and the white mantel

Considered a lighter tile along with light mantel

I like this stone with the substantial mantel and corbels

Then as we made progress it became clear that because of the angle of the fireplace and that in order to fit the firebox in this space and give the proper clearances it couldn't be perfectly centered and still work.  It's a bit lopsided with a wall space of 14 inches on the left side (as you face the fireplace) and 10 inches on the right.  With this uneven spacing, to try and put a mantel with side pieces up would look funny, and really show that it wasn't centered.  I decided I didn't want tile, and found a look I liked in a product called Airstone.  We've also decided to just take the mantel across the entire wall space here and to have drywall above the mantel.

This is the style of Airstone that we chose

This is a photo that someone posted of it on their fireplace and we feel that this color and look will work well for our space and decorating needs.  We plan to use the stone around the firebox ,under the mantel like they have here.  Our mantel will be a thicker one such as this and we'll have drywall above the mantel space.  

I still need to find hearth stone to cover the old ugly bricks and purchase the wood for the fireplace mantel and we'll be ready to move on to the next and last phase of our fireplace transformation.

We're getting there.  A few more steps and our fireplace will be done, and then it's on to the next projects that have been inspired by this one as we work to transform this old house into our personalized space.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Fireplace Update 2

Our last post on the fireplace progress had the fireplace in and our first fires going.  Now it was time to add the drywall backer boards behind the fireplace unit and to replace the damaged drywall on the ceiling area in this space where it had to be removed to add the new chimney pipes and since it had been damage in a previous leak there was a much larger area that needed to be fixed.

We used the heavier duty drywall X 10 that's designed as a fire resistant drywall.  It was heavy and Cameron and Kevin had their work cut out for them maneuvering the pieces into the tight space behind the firebox.

Nailing it to the wood posts

First piece in place

Trimming the board for the uneven area that this one needed to fit in

Moving this piece into it's tight fit proved a challenge, but they got it

Once they had these in and nailed into place, Kevin added bracing up top at the ceiling for the new pieces of drywall and the metal shield for the chimney pipe to attach to.  We had already made sure prior to this that everything was sealed so that there wasn't a chance for anymore leaks that had caused the damage the prior owners had experienced.

Finished with new ceiling pieces in place

Now that all the drywall was up and everything in place on the interior fireplace space, it was time to build the wood frame that the drywall to seal this off would be attached to.  Kevin added more than was needed to be sure that we would have wood to be able to nail into for any future pictures, decorative pieces, or whatever possible additions we might choose to make.  Easier to add it now than regret later we didn't have that sturdy foundation in place.

Kevin as he adds header for mantel to attach to and the various other support pieces for drywall facing to attach to.

With a VERY solid frame up it was now time to add the drywall to the face of the fireplace. Kevin and Cameron did this with the precision of masters at their craft, we were quite impressed.

Cameron helping to hold drywall in place as they attach the first piece

In progress

Done.  Now time to tape and texture.

Kevin was truly pleased with himself once this was complete.

Now it's time for the finishing touches and with that some challenges as to how we want to finish this area that will be discussed in my next post.