Tuesday, April 7, 2009


This evening I finished stripping the last of the balusters and fillet stops from the railing of the stairs going up to the second floor.

And I'm living dangerously withal. I went ahead and knocked them all loose to work on them down the basement.

Gradually, carefully I've done this . . . The first ten balusters from the top I had to remove: they backed up to a wall and it'd be hell on wheels to redo the bannister or repaint the wall with them there.

That left the eight at the bottom. Remove two, put some weight on the railing, see if it's holding up. Yes. Remove a couple more, push on the railing again. Not deflecting? All right.

Rinse, repeat.

So now the only thing holding up my hand rail is the newel posts at the top and bottom of the stairs.

See the magic levitating stair rail! Thrill to the gravity-defying spectacle of solid oak resting on just about nothing!!

Do not try this at home; at least, not at homes with young children.

Me, every time I look at that gap the floor of my stomach gives way like a trap door. Can't imagine why; the stairs to the basement have no railing at all. But on this staircase, above and below and from any and every angle, the vacancy between shoe and rail give me a persistent case of vertigo.

Which is not to be construed as saying that the demounted posts will be reinstalled any time soon.

Monday, April 6, 2009

More Blog Redecorating

I'm marching onward stripping stair rail parts, which is repetitious and boring and doesn't bear writing about.

The really fun thing I've been doing the past few days is tarting up the houseblog.

As you may have noticed, I got the wide ad running (no, this isn't a shameless inducement for you to click on it). But I've also gone to town on Blogger widgets.

Want to see what I've accomplished on various rooms in the house since 2003? Check out the slide shows! I'm up to early 2008 with adding photos to the related web albums, and when I feel like doing something brainless, I go into Picasa and upload a few more.

Then, get a load of the House Progress calendar. It's not for my To-Do list; goodness, no-- it's for my Got It Done list. If there's a red-orange dot/rectangle on a date, that means I actually accomplished some work on the Sow's Ear that day. Ain't that keen?

What I need some friendly reader to tell me is, can you click on the dates and read what I've recorded there? That would be good. Or does nothing come up at all? That would be not so good. Or . . . can you, O Reader, click and fool around with what I've written on my calendar? That would be very bad indeed. Please. Don't. Do. It!

And I've changed my blogs-I-follow list so I can see when their authors have made new posts (and, I have to say, you guys are slacking off of late. Come on! Give me an excuse to click over!).

These features should make my blog ever so much more attractive and informative and entertaining!

Unless, of course, all these bells and whistles are making the blog take forever to load, so nobody wants to read it any more . . .

Oh, dear. "What your best friends won't tell you." But give it to me straight: Are the new features helpful or not? If they just get in the way, I can always delete them, no problem. After all, redecorating the blog is a lot less work than renovating the house-- not to mention more easily reversible.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Blog Housekeeping

I've finally figured out why the 300x250 ad block on my blog never gets used, even though my Adify account says I've got buyers for it.

It's because the template default size of the right hand sidebar is only 240 pixels wide. I kind of tumbled to that when I put on a new house photo a little bit ago and noticed it was chopped off on the right side.

So I went into the HTML and widened the sidebar to 320 pixels. Now the picture and the ad block have room to breathe, and hopefully pretty soon I'll be rid of that placeholding blank and have an ad above the fold.

However, you'll notice that I wasn't able to move the radiused corners to the new location. In the HTML window it says, "The images which help create rounded corners depend on the following widths and measurements. If you want to change these measurements, the images will also need to change."

Well, I did change "the widths and measurements"; can anyone advise me on how to change the "images" as well? The template is called "Rounders," but I can't find anything on Blogger Help to solve the problem.

Suggestions gratefully received! Meanwhile, we'll see what Adify comes up with now that my ad space is the right size.